They say children are a blessing, but the joy of raising a little being from a tiny baby to a full grown adult is a privilege that not every Canadian is welcome to.
More than 20 per cent of Canadian couples experience infertility, but this diagnosis does not have to spell the end of your dreams of becoming a parent and having a child to carry on your genetic legacy.
For women and men either struggling with infertility or seeking alternative options, there is hope. Your family doctor or primary care physician can perform a few basic tests to determine if you are a good candidate for a fertility specialist, also known as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
An RE specializes in treating people who have trouble conceiving and work with their patients to diagnose and treat the various causes of infertility. Single women and men and same sex couples may also see RE to help them fulfill their dream of having a family.
When To Seek Professional Help
For some, getting pregnant is a simple process. For those who struggle, there is hope.
Age can play a huge factor in your chances of successfully becoming pregnant, and many specialists recommend that women who are under 35 and unable to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, and women over 35 who are unable to get pregnant after 6 months of unprotected intercourse should talk to their doctor about a referral. In fact, as the chances of you’re becoming pregnant over 35 decrease nearly 50 per cent, its recommended that women 35 and over see a fertility specialist immediately.
For women suffering from the following reproductive health conditions, a fertility clinic may offer a ray of hope:
• Large fibroids or moderate/severe endometriosis
• Ovulatory dysfunction, including irregular or absent periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian insufficiency, or you’ve had ovarian surgery
• Two or more miscarriages
• Pelvic/genital infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
• Tubal ligation, tubal surgery, blocked tubes (one or both), or more than one ectopic
Fertility Problems Don’t Just Affect Women
It takes two to tango, and though it’s commonly believed that infertility solely affects women, the reality is that in 3 out of 10 cases, the cause of infertility is actually related to the man.
Most often, infertility in men is caused by the following:
• Varicocele, a condition where the veins on a man’s testicle(s) are too large, which can heat the testicles and affect the number or shape of the sperm, and resulting in an abnormal semen analysis.
• Other factors that may cause a man to produce too few sperm or none at all
• Movement of the sperm, which can be affected by injuries or other damage to the reproductive system
In some cases, a man is born with problems that affect his sperm, and in others problems arise later in life due to illness, such as cystic fibrosis, or injury.
When your Health Gets In The Way
In some cases, fertility issues arise from previous or existing complications with your health. If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments, have been diagnosed with HIV, Hepatitis B or C, or you have been diagnosed with a genetic condition that may be passed on to your child, a fertility specialist will educate you on the options available to you.
When you are ready to start your family, don’t leave it up to chance. The specialists at First Step Fertility are highly experienced medical professionals who will work hard to fulfill your dreams of having a baby.