A couple should seek out evaluation and treatment from a fertility specialist if:

  • The woman’s menstrual cycle is not regular (fewer than 24 or more than 35 days between periods).
  • More than one year of unprotected intercourse has passed in a couple where the woman is less than 35 years old.
  • More than six months of unprotected intercourse has passed where the woman is between 35 and 40 years of age.
  • Either partner has reason to suspect that they have reduced fertility. Examples would be history of sexually transmitted disease, pelvic surgery or infertility in prior relationship.

The majority of fertility treatments fall into four categories:

  • Surgery
  • Fertility medications
  • Artificial insemination
  • Assisted reproductive technology (A.R.T.)

Surgery is performed:

  • To correct congenital malformations of the reproductive tract (female, male)
  • To eliminate scar tissue that has formed as a result of infection or prior surgery (female, male).
  • To open blocked fallopian tubes (female).
  • To eradicate endometriosis (female).
  • To tie off varicose veins which drain the testicle (male).
  • To remove growths (tumors) such as fibroids, polyps, ovarian cysts (female).

Fertility drugs (clomiphene, gonadotropins) are administered to women in order to induce or hyperstimulate ovulation. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are utilized to support the growth and development of reproductive tissues.

Artificial insemination may utilize the husband’s sperm or, in some cases, donor sperm.

Assisted reproductive technologies include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). These treatments are particularly effective for male factor infertility, endometriosis, fallopian tube issues and infertility of unknown origin.