Fertility is described as the capacity to conceive a child. Fertility affects both people with female reproductive organs and male reproductive organs. Infertility, the inability to conceive a child on your own, is typically diagnosed after up to or over one year of trying without reaching conception. Infertility affects about 1 in every 8 couples–which is about 6.7 million people each year having trouble conceiving.
How do I know if I have fertility problems/(in)fertility?
There are many signs or risk factors that can point to infertility, however, the best way to know is to see your doctor/OB/GYN or a fertility specialist for a definite diagnosis when it comes to fertility problems/infertility. While you may display some of the signs or have pre-existing health conditions that have a side effect of infertility, it's always best to talk to your doctor. Remember, every body is different.
What is Fertility Testing?
Typically, basic fertility testing in women and people with female reproductive organs involves a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), a type of x-ray that evaluates the uterus and fallopian tubes. In men and people with male reproductive organs, fertility testing involves semen analysis. Both groups may undergo bloodwork to measure hormone levels during the testing period.
Feeling nervous about Fertility Testing?
You are not alone. Remember that (In)fertility is not a death sentence. While the world "infertility" may sound scary, it's important to remember that it doesn't always mean you will never be able to conceive. There are many treatments, studies and work that has been done in healthcare to help treat or manage infertility. Reproductive endocrinologists (physicians with training as fertility specialists) and fertility therapists, technicians and nurses are specialized in helping those who are having trouble conceiving achieve their goals. Talk to your healthcare provider, a mind-body fertility therapist or a mental health professional who specializes in fertility struggles to help you relieve some of the stress and worry that may come along with fertility testing and/or treatments.
Common treatments for (in)fertility/fertility problems include:
Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Injectable fertility drugs
Insemination (Intracervical, intrauterine, intratubal, intravaginal)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Oral fertility drugs
Surgeries, such as ovarian drilling, laparoscopic surgery
Third-party reproduction (egg, embryo or sperm donors) or surrogacy
Treatment of underlying medical or mental health conditions that may be causing reproductive side effects
Coping with (in)fertility/fertility problems
(In)fertility is anything but easy. Individuals and couples experiencing fertility problems go through tons of emotions from hopefulness to anxiety and stress to even depression. It's important to take your mental well-being into account during testing, treatments, trying to conceive and even during your pregnancy. There is a lot of psychological stress that can be caused by the fertility journey and it's important to practice self-care and find a community of people (or a professional) to help.