testing for a cause ofinfertility, your next step is considering your
doctor's recommendations about what to do next. Perhaps your tests have
identified a problem, and a potentially effective treatment is available. Or,
your test results are normal, finding no obvious reason why you shouldn't be
able to conceive. In this case, you may be deciding whether to have more
testing, try a treatment for "unexplained infertility," or continue trying to
conceive naturally. In any case, you may also be considering adoption as a
family planning alternative.
This decision module can help you
consider the various medical and personal questions that are related to
infertility. It offers you information about infertility, treatment options
according to condition, risks of those options, and general outcome
information. After reviewing this information, you and your partner can use the
worksheet to guide your thinking as you decide what to do next.
Consider the following when making your decision:
- A man's fertility is not known to be severely
affected by age. A woman's fertility gradually drops from her mid-30s into her
40s, due in great part to the naturalaging of the egg supply.
- In 10% of couples, no cause of
infertility is found (unexplained infertility).1Of
all couples with unexplained infertility who do not seek treatment, about 35%
will naturally become pregnant within 3 years, and 45% do so within 7
- The crisis of infertility can be
intensified by its treatment, which can be difficult, expensive, and sometimes
traumatic. Make a point of:
- Defining your limits for infertility
treatment in advance. During infertility treatment, regularly evaluate your
emotional, financial, and physical well-being.
professional counseling. Prolonged infertility testing and treatment can
intensify the stress of infertility itself. If you are becoming depressed or
overly stressed, or your relationship is suffering, seek professional
counseling to help you get through this crisis together.
Fertility clinic success ratesvary.
When considering treatment success rates, be aware that many are given in terms
of pregnancies conceived. Pregnancy rates do not reflect the fact that some
pregnancies miscarry. In any group of women, live birth rates are lower than
early pregnancy rates.
For information about any clinic you are considering, see
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC) Web site at