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What is Infertility?

Fertility is an ongoing process that begins at birth. When a girl is born, she typically has between 1 and 2 million eggs in her ovaries. By the time a girl enters puberty, she has 300,000 to 500,000 eggs. Typically, a woman will release a mature egg during her monthly cycle usually between Day 11 - Day 21 of their cycle, counting from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP). This is what many refer to as the "fertile time" of a woman's cycle, because sexual intercourse during this time increases the chance of pregnancy. Ovulation can occur at various times during a cycle, and may occur on a different day each month. If the egg is successfully fertilized, a pregnancy results. Infertility does not mean that it is impossible to get pregnant.

Typically, experts will treat a...

Infertility can be caused by problems with both a woman’s or a man’s or both partners’ reproductive system. A physician will typically explore issues associated with both partners in an effort to determine the aggressiveness of the treatment. A variety of tests exist to determine any root causes contributing to challenges in fertility.

The only symptom associated with infertility is the inability to get pregnant after trying to do so for a year with no active birth control in place. This definition applies primarily in Western medicine. Other sciences do not define infertility as a condition but rather refer to a set of imbalances that may be causing challenges with trying to get pregnant.

The diagnosis of infertility follows the path from basic to invasive. The diagnosis of infertility is typically considered if a couple has been actively trying to get pregnant for a year or more and has been unsuccessful.

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