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Infertility

Inability to conceive for at least one year after trying and having unprotected sex.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Infertility

Not being able to have children is often a source of great emotional turmoil. Many men and women take it for granted that they will be able to have children. If they are not able to conceive, most couples start looking for medical help at some point. A number of different treatments are available depending on the possible causes of infertility.

Problems conceiving a child are defined by medical experts as "infertility" if a couple has had regular unprotected sexual intercourse for one year without the woman becoming pregnant.

There are a number of different possible causes of infertility... Read more about Infertility

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Aromatase inhibitors in ovulation induction for women with unexplained infertility: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Liu Z, Tang HL, Zhai SD.  Aromatase inhibitors in ovulation induction for women with unexplained infertility: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2011; 11(11): 1327-1334

The effectiveness of fallopian tube surgery to overcome infertility caused by tubal disease cannot be determined at present.

Tubal surgery to overcome infertility caused by tubal disease is becoming popular due to the success rates (livebirths), advances in surgical techniques. including microsurgery, and because of the adverse outcomes and costs related to in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is another option for overcoming tubal infertility. Tubal surgery, however, is also expensive; it requires additional specialist training for gynaecologists, experience to perform, and can have adverse effects (including ectopic pregnancies), and operative risks. Waiting to become pregnant without treatment (expectant management) is another option for women with tubal infertility. This review could not identify any clinical trials that compared tubal surgery with either IVF or expectant management.  The authors conclude that at present the available research is not adequate to determine the effectiveness, or otherwise, of tubal surgery compared to either IVF or expectant management. More research is needed, including information about adverse outcomes and costs.

Removal of endometrial polyps prior to infertility treatment

Cochrane authors investigated whether the removal of endometrial polyps in women presenting with subfertility was safe and whether it improved the chance of pregnancy.

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Summaries for consumers

Infertility: Overview

Not being able to have children is often a source of great emotional turmoil. Many men and women take it for granted that they will be able to have children. If they are not able to conceive, most couples start looking for medical help at some point. A number of different treatments are available depending on the possible causes of infertility.

Infertility: Artificial fertilization in case of poor sperm quality: ICSI or IVF?

Semen analysis can be used to measure sperm quality. The results of the test are used to decide which type of artificial fertilization to use: IVF or ICSI. There have not yet been any studies done on which semen analysis parameters can predict whether ICSI will be more successful than IVF.

The effectiveness of fallopian tube surgery to overcome infertility caused by tubal disease cannot be determined at present.

Tubal surgery to overcome infertility caused by tubal disease is becoming popular due to the success rates (livebirths), advances in surgical techniques. including microsurgery, and because of the adverse outcomes and costs related to in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is another option for overcoming tubal infertility. Tubal surgery, however, is also expensive; it requires additional specialist training for gynaecologists, experience to perform, and can have adverse effects (including ectopic pregnancies), and operative risks. Waiting to become pregnant without treatment (expectant management) is another option for women with tubal infertility. This review could not identify any clinical trials that compared tubal surgery with either IVF or expectant management.  The authors conclude that at present the available research is not adequate to determine the effectiveness, or otherwise, of tubal surgery compared to either IVF or expectant management. More research is needed, including information about adverse outcomes and costs.

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More about Infertility

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Also called: Subfertility

See Also: Male Infertility

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