When a couple is trying to get pregnant, excitement and anticipation over the prospect of conception can lead to unhappiness when infertility is a problem. The emotional aspects of infertility can be very difficult to deal with, as both partners grieve the loss. Infertility treatment can help about half of all those couples achieve a pregnancy. Treatment may also be important for other reasons, according to New York Reproductive Wellness.
The Problem of Infertility
Approximately 1.3 million patients in the US receive infertility treatment each year, according to the Harvard Mental Health Letter. Fertility problems can occur in both women and men; sometimes it is a joint problem. In other cases, the actual cause is never determined. Nearly all conception difficulties have a physiological basis, such as a low sperm count or scarring in the Fallopian tubes that carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus. The problem might be the ability to carry a pregnancy to term rather than conception itself. In some cases, treatment can be a matter of tracking the menstrual cycle and timing intercourse, or other low-tech fertility management strategies. In others, more complex strategies are necessary.
Fertility and Health
Fertility treatment is important not just to promote conception. It may also uncover other medical problems or lifestyle habits that can have an impact on overall health. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects fertility, but it also increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Smoking – especially in women – can decrease the chances of conception. In addition, smoking has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease and the risk of stroke. Hormonal imbalances in men that affect fertility can also increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Mental Health Issues
The psychological challenges of infertility can be immense. Depression and anxiety are common in those couples who have been unable to conceive. Grief, shock, anger, frustration, and loss of self-esteem and self-confidence are normal but distressing feelings when confronted with a diagnosis of infertility. These emotions have been described as similar to those of an individual facing a cancer diagnosis. Treatment for these conditions is a component of treating infertility. Support groups and psychotherapy are just as important as the physical aspects of medical management.
Many options exist for today’s infertile couples. Among these are intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ovulation induction. Ovulation tracking is a simple tool to help identify the best time for intercourse to promote conception. Strategies for male infertility might include treatment for hernia, hormone management or erectile dysfunction. In addition, treatment can promote overall health with a focus on lifestyle management such as improving the diet or promoting better sleep and exercise habits.
If you have been unable to conceive after a year, please contact us at New York Reproductive Wellness. Fertility problems rarely just go away on their own. We can assess your situation and discuss strategies to help you improve your health and achieve or maintain a pregnancy.