Frequently Asked Questions

How common is infertility?

The most recent estimates indicate infertility affects about 10% of the population in their childbearing years. The most rapid decline in fertility potential among woman occurs from age 35

Does a diagnosis of infertility mean I am sterile?

Infertility is not the same thing as sterility. About 90% of all diagnosed infertility cases can be traced to specific causes, which allows the majority of couples to receive appropriate treatment and achieve pregnancy.

Does infertility only happen to women?

While many people associate infertility with women, it actually occurs equally among both women and men.Infertility is exclusively a female problem in 30-40% of the cases and exclusively a male problem in 10-30% of the cases. Problems common to both partners are diagnosed in 15-30% of infertile couples. In spite of thorough medical investigations, the causes of the fertility problem remain unexplained in only a minority of infertile couples (5-10%)

How often should we have intercourse while trying to conceive?

Sperm can live 48 to 72 hours in a woman's reproductive tract and can fertilise an egg at any time during this period. This is why sexual intercourse every two to three days around the time of ovulation is adequate.

What affects the ability of sperm to fertilise an egg?

Semen quality and quantity may impact the ability of sperm to successfully fertilise the egg. Sperm movement is an important factor. Even with a low sperm count, men who have highly mobile (or 'motile') sperm may still be fertile.

How long should I remain on clomiphene citrate therapy?

The majority of patients who respond to clomiphene citrate do so during the first month of therapy. Three or four courses constitute an adequate therapeutic trial. If ovulatory menses do not occur, treatment with clomiphene citrate beyond this point is not recommended. The diagnosis may need to be re-evaluated and other treatment options considered.

Do all infertility treatments involve "high-tech" experimental procedures?

No. Many couples are successful in their attempts to conceive using relatively simple and "low-tech" procedures. Less than 5% of all couples seeking treatment will undergo Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Most of the major ART procedures, like In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), are now established medical treatments and are no longer considered investigational or experimental.

How successful are treatments for infertility?

Improvements in medication, microsurgery, and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) make pregnancy possible for a majority of the couples pursuing treatments. In particular, success rates have dramatically improved for couples who require ART. The pregnancy rate for an ART cycle approaches the monthly fertility rate for most couples. Talk to your doctor about your specific case. Success rates vary from patient to patient and from situation to situation.

How can I find out if my insurance plan will cover infertility treatment?

Today, many options for infertility treatment are effective, simple, and relatively inexpensive. If you are faced with fertility problems, keep in mind that you have a right to receive the benefits that your carrier provides in your policy. Whatever your policy states, there is often room for interpretation. What is not written into your policy is just as important as what is. It is a good idea to review your policy and request information about coverage options and limitations in writing from your insurance carrier. Insurance coverage for infertility treatment has traditionally fallen into a "grey" area. Some insurance carriers do not recognise infertility as a disease. Others classify medically accepted and successful therapy as "experimental." Still others perceive the workup and treatment process as "medically unnecessary." Taking personal responsibility for evaluating your policy and questioning the contents will help you maximise your coverage.

Is ART considered experimental therapy?

No. For well over a decade, IVF, GIFT, Donor Oocytes, Embryo Cryopreservation, and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), have been considered non-experimental by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the leading professional organization for reproductive endocrinologists and biologists in the U.S. Success rates are continually improving, and in many cases exceed the pregnancy rates expected for normally fertile couples.

Are there side effects associated with the use of hormonal therapies?

Clinical studies have shown that hormonal therapies are safe and effective. However, as with all prescription medications, there are possible side effects. Your doctor will discuss any potential side effects as well as monitoring your response to therapy. Remember, too, that it is important to report all symptoms to your physician.

Is it necessary for all patients seeking infertility treatment to undergo counseling?

The physician helps the infertile couple find the most appropriate therapeutic path to overcome barriers to conception, but, before a treatment is started, patients need to be aware of all its aspects, including its constraints. Beyond the medical expertise, infertile couples are also looking for counseling and support. From a psychological point of view, infertility is often a hard condition to cope with. During treatment and before a pregnancy is achieved, feelings of frustration or loss of control usually experienced by the infertile couple are likely to be exacerbated. Management of infertility includes both the physical and emotional care of the couple. Therefore, support from physicians, nurses and all people involved in treating the infertile couple is essential to help them cope with the various aspects of their condition. Offering counseling and contact with other infertile couples and patient associations can provide help outside the medical environment.

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