Facing infertility? Here’s when to seek help | #parenting

EUGENE, Ore. – About 75% of couples trying to get pregnant are able to conceive within the first year. But for those who aren’t as lucky, it can be a very emotional time.

In this month’s Parenting & Pregnancy, sponsored by Women’s Care, KEZI 9 News anchor Renee McCullough spoke with a fertility expert about why you shouldn’t let your fears keep you from getting help.

Infertility is a fairly common condition affecting about one in 10 adults.

“Generally two-thirds of the time with an infertile couple, a woman is having the difficulty, and about a third of the time, a man is having that difficulty,” said Dr. Doug Austin, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Fertility Center of Oregon.

Austin said there are a number of reasons people can be infertile.

“They go from developmental abnormalities, maybe sperm production isn’t occurring normally, to things that are acquired: infections, scarring or other conditions,” he said.

So how do you know when you should see an expert? Austin said women under 35 should see their primary care physician or their gynecologist if they haven’t been able to get pregnant after a year. For women older than that, it’s six months because time is of the essence.

Austin said once patients are in his office, the consultation lasts about an hour and a half. He looks at the couple’s medical history to try to determine what the problem is and come up with a plan right away.

“Right now is one of the best times in the history of humans to have infertility – if you have to have infertility – because the options are very available and quite successful,” Austin said.

These days, there are medical and surgical options to improve fertility rates, he added, including invitro fertilization.

“We will stimulate the egg production in a woman, we will remove those eggs from her body, fertilize them with her partner’s sperm in the lab and then transfer back those embryos,” he said.

Austin said the older couples are, the harder it can be to conceive, which is why he wants to remind couples that fear of not being able to get pregnant shouldn’t keep them from making an appointment.

“That’s perfectly reasonable fear. It is something we address right away, and we also start to generate other ways of having a family that the couple may not have thought of, and that means essentially at this point and time we have a way for everyone to conceive,” Austin said. “It may not be in exactly the way they thought it was going to happen as they started their journey, but there are ways to overcome every type of infertility that’s ever been experienced.”

Austin said they make sure to get your medical history from other doctors before your first visit so they can move forward as quickly as possible.

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