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Houston Fertility Journal

    Signs of Infertility: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    April 10, 2018 / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

    Center of Reproductive Medicine


    Our modern society has become progressive in so many ways, but one area in which we could still use more work is the way in which we discuss infertility. For so many, “infertility” remains a dirty word, something that shall never be uttered let alone addressed head-on.

    Yet, despite this stubborn refusal to accept its role in the lives of many individuals and couples, infertility is still very much a concern for those hoping to conceive a child and start a family. This approach only perpetuates a vicious cycle that leaves those facing signs of infertility with little choice but to settle into despondency. After all, few issues are as personal or as emotionally devastating for those affected as infertility.

    Well, we’re here to help shake you out of that funk and into action. Of course, no one wants to be forced to confront fertility issues, but if you are experiencing signs of infertility — such as an extended and unsuccessful attempt to get pregnant, a hormonal imbalance or a relevant medical issue — all hope is not lost. At least not yet. But before you reach out to an infertility specialist to explore treatment options, it’s essential that you know what you’re getting yourself into.

    With a little knowledge, you’ll be able to more accurately decide whether the time is right for professional help as you pursue the child of your dreams. So let’s break through the good, the bad and (unfortunately) the ugly about infertility and get you started towards conception.

    The Good


    Infertility, by definition, isn’t a positive thing, of course. However, when it comes to exploring how to solve your fertility issue, there is a ton of good news out there. Thanks to major developments in recent years, fertility treatment is as sophisticated and promising as ever, and you’ll find the process is less invasive and more accurate than in years past.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you review your symptoms and signs of infertility and consider your next move.

    • You’ll be able to see the signs: One good thing about the signs of infertility is that you’ll probably notice relatively soon if there is a problem. This will be evident not only in your inability to get pregnant but in the fact that infertility often manifests itself in physical ways. These may include acne, increased hair growth or changes in your menstrual cycle. Particularly if your fertility issues are based on a hormonal imbalance, you will probably know pretty soon that something is going on. This discovery will spur further investigation and, hopefully, lead you to seeking treatment.
    • He might be the one who needs treatment: While most women assume that they are the ones who have fertility problems, sometimes it’s their male partner who could use medical assistance in boosting his fertility. This might sound like it belongs in the “good” section of our discussion, but the positive side of such a revelation is that it opens up an entire new side of your diagnosis. If you have been frustrated as you attempted to identify the root cause of your fertility problems, perhaps a very basic treatment for your man will do the trick. A specialist will be able to help narrow down the possibilities.
    • You might be harboring some common misconceptions: One reason you might be running into difficulty getting pregnant is because of your false beliefs in how it all works. Many individuals and couples turn to old wives’ tales to boost fertility when such tactics can often actually diminish your chances of conception. There is a lot of misinformation out there specifically about the topic of infertility, stemming in part from a lack of open discussion about what signs you should be looking for and what you can do to make necessary adjustments. Get educated so that you don’t let a simple misconception hold you back.
    • You aren’t the only one facing this challenge: Even if the symptoms you’re exhibiting are in fact pointing to a need for fertility treatment, you may find some comfort in the realization that you’re not alone. Infertility is all too common of a concern, and though the causes behind the condition may vary from one individual and/or couple to the next, the emotional weight and intense pressure of the experience is a near-universal truth. Because of this, an entire community is available to support you through treatment, in addition to the assistance you’ll undoubtedly receive from your fertility specialist.
    • You might not have to turn to in vitro fertilization: So you’re showing signs of possible fertility issues. If this is the case, you’re likely already worrying about the arduous course of treatment you’ll be forced to endure as you continue to pursue conception.
    • However, don’t get all stressed about the cost and extensive medical treatment just yet. In vitro fertilization, for instance, may be one of the more popular fertility treatments for severe cases, but it is far from a given that you’ll even be an IVF candidate.
    • Your specialist will evaluate your specific case and opt first for simpler, less costly measures.

    The Bad


    Just as we shared some positive points to inspire hope in the future of your fertility journey, there are several difficult and frustrating elements as well. We’d be remiss if we didn’t present the full breadth of the experience ahead of you. Not all of these are insurmountable, but they will make you suffer along the way.

    So, let’s take a quick look at some of the darker elements involved in your infertility symptoms.

    • You’ll have to set aside any lingering fears: Perhaps the most distressing part of noticing potential infertility isn’t the actual treatment that might await you. Rather, it’s the knowledge that you must push past your fears. That includes, naturally, the fear of failure to conceive, a worry that plagues nearly all aspiring parents. But it also means you’ll have to relieve yourself and your partner of a very common fear that isn’t always talked about: a fear of fertility clinics. For the hopes that they represent, the commitment it takes to pursue treatment and the personal stakes involved, fertility clinics are understandably a sensitive subject for many struggling to have a new baby.
    • A serious medical condition might be behind your symptoms: For some aspiring parents, lifestyle changes might be all they’ll need to embrace to boost their fertility and finally achieve success during conception. But, unfortunately, it’s not always so easy. You’ll need to reach out to a specialist for thorough testing and diagnosis, but sometimes, serious conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome could be to blame for your failure to get pregnant. Treatment options can still help you overcome such circumstances and conceive. You’ll just have a rougher road ahead of you is all. You won’t know for sure what’s causing your infertility until you have more information.
    • Not all specialists will provide the same level of treatment: If you are ready to look into specialists that might be able to help you sort out your fertility, here’s a word of caution. If you’re new to fertility treatment, you should absolutely perform in-depth research regarding any specialist you’re considering. The reason? Infertility specialists don’t always follow the same school of thought, rely on the same treatment options or maintain the same compassionate bedside manner. You want to be sure that your doctor’s style of care and approach to your treatment match your own vision for how it will all play out.
    • Don’t take success rates at face value: Just as not all specialists will provide uniform levels of treatment, the same can be said of the clinics themselves. There’s a lot of faulty data out there regarding fertility treatment, and some of it is perpetrated by clinics, which frame figures — including success rates — in ways that might be misconstrued by some prospective patients. So, if you’re serious about looking into your signs of infertility, do your due diligence and ask about your potential clinic’s history with cases that match yours. This will give you a far clearer picture of the kind of treatment you can expect.
    • Your lifestyle could be holding you back: You might be assuming that something is wrong with your body, that you have some undiagnosed condition or other dreadful malady that is standing in the way of your conception. But in many cases, it’s actually your lifestyle that is preventing you from getting pregnant. Smoking too much, drinking too much and even drinking too much caffeine can contribute to reduced fertility. Naturally, if you’re eating loads of junk food and/or failing to exercise regularly, these activities too are probably at least partly responsible for your failed attempts at conception.

    The Ugly


    Regretfully, these are some of the ugliest parts of infertility. From sad realizations to challenges so dire that you may not be able to triumph over them, we must address the worst and most upsetting parts of infertility treatment.

    Naturally, even these may not be definitive, but they certainly paint an unfortunate picture of your possible conception.

    Let’s review the ugly truth about infertility and identify whether it’s truly time to seek professional help.

    • You might be too old to conceive a child: You’re running into nothing but problems when it comes to getting pregnant, and you simply cannot figure out why. As sad as it might seem, maybe your child-rearing days are behind you. If you’re over the age of 40, it becomes exponentially more difficult to conceive. Sure, treatments might make conception more likely, but there’s only so much that can be done in some cases. By all means, look into fertility treatment options that might help. But just know that age is very much a factor when it comes to infertility.
    • Treatment could take a toll on your relationship: As much as you and your partner may be dreaming of conceiving, you should face the truth about what you’re up against. The odds are wildly varying when it comes to successfully achieving fertility, and even if it does work, your relationship will almost certainly be affected. The sheer will and determination it takes to put your body and your emotions through fertility treatment will stir up all kinds of conflict between you and your partner. Just know that this possibility is very much on the horizon as you take stock of your symptoms.
    • Avoid the sea of terrible advice out there: With any luck, this discussion has helped give you some direction of how you want to proceed and whether fertility treatment is something you’re willing to pursue. But before we begin wrapping up, we’d like to leave you with one more major takeaway. Whatever you decide, do it for you. Don’t listen to the negative-minded people who will surely bring you down and ignore the world of horrific advice surrounding you. If you’re experiencing signs of infertility, then take action! Only you can be the one to take that initiative, and if everything goes according to plan, you’ll be very glad you did.

    No Progress Without Action

    Deciding whether you’re ready for infertility treatment is an incredibly subjective task. So many factors play into your qualifications for this kind of medical care, and you’ll want to take them all into account before you move forward. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes may make a big difference. Yet, there’s no denying that time is a factor in the effectiveness of any fertility treatment, as age brings you one step further away from your goal.

    Therefore, you should act quickly to maximize your chances of conception. You and/or your partner may be facing any number of challenges, and a fertility specialist will — in many cases — be able to accurately determine the cause of your infertility and help narrow down your options.

    That being said, there’s no clear-cut guarantee that you’ll be able to overcome your infertility issues, even with the aid of a qualified professional. Some circumstances are too difficult even for modern science to power through, sadly. But your chances of successful conception will certainly skyrocket with a specialist on your side. You’d be surprised how often couples are able to conceive with just some minor lifestyle changes or the simplest treatment solutions.

    If you’re experiencing signs of infertility, we know how scary and disheartening it can be, but there’s no reason you should have to suffer through aimless trial-and-error when help is so readily available. Such a decision could make all the difference in the world and even lead you directly to your family’s new addition.

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    Topics: Fertility Journey, Signs of Infertility

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