Rebecca Fox gives us an overview of the infertility diagnosis and shows us what options are available.
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Rebecca Fox: It is often, the first glimpse the couple has of their baby, the image that appears on an ultrasound machine, but for millions of women in the US this image can become an illusive mirage due to infertility. Dr. John Schnorr: Infertility is a diagnosis which is generally started with the inability of a couple of reproductive age to conceive within one year of regular intercourse. Rebecca Fox: Dr. John Schnorr is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Medical Director of the South-Eastern Fertility Centre. He says within the infertility diagnosis, there are actually two categories. One is called Primary Infertility, meaning you've not been able to have a baby your entire life. Dr. John Schnorr: So Primary Infertility, have many-many causes. We know that Primary Infertility can be inadequate timing of intercourse, can be low-sperm counts. About 40% of all cases of Infertility are due to male factors, which is the sperm count is low. Could be that the cervix has an abnormality in the swim; the sperm aren't able to swim up through the cervix and get into the uterine cavity. Could be that the uterus has a structural abnormality such as Fibroids. Could be that we have blocked fallopian tubes, that's the connection between the uterus and the ovaries. Rebecca Fox: Dr. Schnorr says this field of health care now knows of about 50 different causes of infertility. But let's say you've had a baby before and now you can't. That's known as Secondary Infertility. When it comes to this diagnosis, doctors in the exam room are focused on what's changed. Dr. John Schnorr: Did you have an infection since you had your child? Did your husband have testicular injury or testicular trauma since you had your last child? Are you still having regular menstrual cycles since you had your last child? You're having Hot Flashes, Vaginal Dryness, Signs of Menopause, variety of different things we can look at. Rebecca Fox: And there are a variety of treatment options. It could mean a doctor teaches a couple when they're ovulating or it could require procedures like surgical repair of the fallopian tubes or uterus. Dr. Schnorr says one first step is called Ovulation Induction, an Inter-uterine Insemination. Dr. John Schnorr: Ovulation Induction means we give you medications to make more than one egg every month. That generally a woman ovulates one egg every month, we can give you medications to make you ovulate two, to three, to four eggs. And by making more than one egg we double your pregnancy rate. The second thing we can do is even if the sperm count is normal, we can take a sperm collection, we can wash it up and put just the best sperm into a catheter, we can put the catheter through the cervix, into the top of uterus, just like doing a Pap-Smear, it doesn't hurt. And by putting the sperm into the center of the uterine cavity, we again double pregnancy rates. Rebecca Fox: And then there is a treatment called In Vitro Fertilization or IVF. Dr. John Schnorr: In Latin, Vitro means glass. So it's In-Glass-Fertilization. So we're going to take eggs out, we're going to fertilize them in a glass test-tube with sperm and then we're going to take these embryos and later put them back into the uterus. So that's a process which a more sophisticated form of treatment which bypasses blocked fallopian tubes, fixes the severe sperm counts, it fixes endometriosis and a lot of common causes of infertility. Rebecca Fox: He says the good news is of all the people who enter infertility treatment, more than 90% will have a baby. Dr. John Schnorr: The bad news is only half of all patients within fertility ever seek treatment and I know a very few medical conditions in the world which have a greater than 90% success rate, which is what we do have. Rebecca Fox: The first step though to realizing this image is to get educated. Dr. John Schnorr: You didn't go home with your spasm figure out, you even want to do this or not? You know, you're willing to do an x-ray, you're wil