Wellness Matters

When the Road to Having a Baby is Long

July 20, 2016

Dr. Yalcinkaya
Tamer Yalcinkaya, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Specialist
Carolinas Fertility Institute

Many individuals spend a good portion of their early lives dreaming of starting a family one day; however, for some couples, that process may be slightly more complicated.

It can be easy to lose hope when you’re having trouble conceiving, but it’s important to realize that you are not alone. Many couples struggle, but there is hope! Infertility can be the result of a variety of factors and the treatments for infertility can also vary. Which is why it’s important to meet with a specialist, like Dr. Yalcinkaya, to create an individualized treatment plan for you and your partner.

Men and women are affected almost equally, with 30% due to male factors, 30% due to female factors. The other 40% is often due to a mixture of problems, or is referred to as "unexplained."

Some fertility problems are more easily treated than others. A few causes of infertility in women can be blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, problems with ovulating, or sometimes, infertility is unexplained. Smoking and weight can also be a factor, as well as reproductive aging. The most common reasons for male infertility are low sperm counts, hormone imbalances, or blockages in the male reproductive organs.

Generally, as a woman ages, especially after age 35, her chances of becoming pregnant decrease, and chances of miscarriage increase.

If you have been unable to become pregnant after 1 year of having sex without using birth control, or are a woman older than 35 who has been unable to become pregnant after about 6 months of sex without using birth control, it may be time to seek treatment. A first visit with a specialist often begins with identifying goals and expectations, and looking over the medical history of the couple and their families.

The specialist will go over lifestyle changes such as drinking, smoking and weight, as being over or underweight can affect fertility. Once the specialist feels you are in reasonable health, you may begin various treatments, individualized to your specific situation.

These treatments can include medications to increase ovulation, hormone injections, or perhaps surgery if fallopian tubes are blocked. Another option, which in women under 35 is often done if other treatments have been unsuccessfully attempted, is in vitro fertilization (IVF), which combines a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg outside the woman’s body in a lab. After this process, one or more fertilized eggs would be placed in the woman’s uterus, ideally resulting in implantation in the lining of the uterus and development into full-term infants.

Because there are so many factors that can affect fertility, the most important thing to remember is to develop a relationship with a fertility/reproductive specialist who can create a customized approach for you. Our area is fortunate as Cone Health has a variety of options to help couples through the fertility process. Dr. Yalcinkaya has shown outstanding success rates that are consistently above the national average, and boasts a state-of-the-art IVF Laboratory.


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