When you reach a certain point in your life, it may seem as though everyone in your life has turned their attention to your sexual health, especially with regards to your fertility and having a child. Infertility is not an uncommon problem, in fact, 6.1 million women in the United States have problems getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When it may seem like everyone’s eyes are on you, it is important that you really understand infertility and what you can do about it. Knowing what does and does not cause it as well as options such as a fertility treatment will help you get through this difficult time.
What Does Infertility Really Mean
On a basic level, infertility refers to an issue within the egg fertilization process, according to the CDC. The problem can be on the part of the male or the female; this is not just a problem that affects women. The stages of fertility include ovulation (the release of the egg from the ovaries), the egg moves into the fallopian tubes, fertilization (when the sperm and the egg come together), and implantation (when the fertilized egg latches to the inside wall of the uterus). If there is an issue within any of those steps, it can make getting or keeping a pregnancy difficult.
Myths and Truths
There are many opinions out there with regards to what makes a woman infertile, many of them untrue. For example, there is a belief that taking birth control will lower your ability to have a child. This is completely false as birth control, in any form, does not affect fertility. According to Shine, when a woman stops taking birth control, she will begin to ovulate again in three months or less.
So what are some actual problems that may be affecting your fertility? Well, according to the CDC, infertility is most often caused by an issue with ovulation because if you are not releasing any eggs, there will be nothing for the sperm to fertilize. A general sign of incorrect ovulation is irregular or nonexistent periods. There are a number of conditions that can cause ovulation difficulties, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (caused by a hormone imbalance) and primary ovarian insufficiency (when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning before she is 40, not the same as early menopause).
If you are having difficulties getting pregnant, options such as fertility treatments maybe your best option. Speak with your doctor about the difficulties you are having and remember that these issues develop through no fault of your own, so there is no reason to feel guilty about your issues.