What is Infertility?

Infertility cannot be defined entirely, and in essence is the inability to have children naturally or without the assistance of modern medicine.  Throughout the entire world, the desire and the struggle to have children can be found.  Similar to other medical conditions, infertility is limitless.  Affecting all human beings; regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, social and financial stature.

Like many conditions in medical science, infertility cannot be fully understood or explained.  Many have struggled for years, just to be left with no medical explanation after multiple failed and unsuccessful attempts.  Struggling with infertility can be devastating for a person, both physically and emotionally, creating distance in even the strongest of relationships and can become a financial drain in any household.

Below you will find a description of many common infertility conditions which have affected the ability of other Prospective Parents.  Although to date medical science has not identified all causes of infertility, many have successfully conceived due to medical advances, available within the United States for the treatment of various infertility conditions and with the use of Third Party Reproduction assistance.

As you research the process as a possible option, the most important thing to remember is you are never alone.  There are millions of people all over the world struggling with infertility and choosing to turn to Third Party Reproduction assistance to create their families.  Embrace hope, think positively and take comfort in knowing that the family you have been dreaming of will not only be truly loved but is very much wanted.

Common Terms

Hysterectomy pronounced (his-ter-EK-tuh-me) is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus or womb.  There are two types of hysterectomies.  A full or complete hysterectomy removes the entire female reproductive system; resulting in the loss of woman’s uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and future fertility.  A partial hysterectomy removes the woman’s uterus; her ovaries and fallopian tubes will remain and her ability to produce ovum/eggs to biologically create a child through the assistance of third party reproduction and IVF are protected.

Endometriosis pronounced (end-o-me-tree-o-sis) is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word, endometrium (en-doe-MEE-tree-um), which is the tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometrial cells in areas outside the uterus are also influenced by hormonal changes and respond in a way that is similar to the cells found inside the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis are frequent pain and infertility. Endometriosis occurs when tissue grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body.  This scar tissue may cause pelvic pain and make it hard for a woman to get pregnant.  When endometriosis causes fertility problems, surgery can boost your chances of getting pregnant but if that does not work, doctors suggest adoption or surrogacy as alternative options.

Uterine fibroid pronounced (Fibe-roy-d) represent the most common tumor in women and are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow underneath the uterine lining, inside the uterine wall or outside the uterus. Fibroids are very common in women during their reproductive years.  These lesions disrupt the functions of the uterus and cause excessive uterine bleeding, anemia, defective implantation of an embryo, recurrent pregnancy loss, preterm labor, obstruction of labor, pelvic discomfort, and urinary incontinence and may mimic or mask malignant (cancerous) tumors.

Many women do not feel any symptoms with uterine tumors or fibroids. But for others, these fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia), abnormal periods, uterine bleeding, pain, discomfort, frequent urination and infertility.

Surgery for uterine tumors can involve removing the entire uterus – known as a partial hysterectomy. While a partial hysterectomy is a proven way to get rid of fibroids, it may not be the best treatment for every woman.

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome is a disorder that occurs in females and mainly affects the reproductive system. The reproductive abnormalities of MRKH syndrome are due to incomplete development of the Müllerian duct. This structure in the embryo develops into the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. The cause of the abnormal development of the Müllerian duct in affected individuals in unknown. Affected women usually do not have menstrual periods due to the absent uterus. Although women with this condition are usually unable to carry a pregnancy, they may be able to have children through third party reproduction or surrogacy.

Women with MRKH syndrome may also have abnormalities in other parts of the body. The kidneys may be abnormally formed or positioned, or one kidney may fail to develop (unilateral renal agenesis). Affected individuals commonly develop skeletal abnormalities, particularly of the spinal bones (vertebrae). Females with MRKH syndrome may also have hearing loss or heart defects making it more likely to not be able to carry a pregnancy, however third party assisted reproduction or surrogacy is highly recommended.

Recurrent miscarriagehabitual abortion, or recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is the occurrence of three or more consecutive pregnancies that end in miscarriage.  Although approximately 25% of all recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage, less than 5% of women will experience two consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% experience three or more.

A chromosome analysis performed from the parents’ blood identifies an inherited genetic cause in less than 5% of couples. Translocation (when part of one chromosome is attached to another chromosome) is the most common inherited chromosome abnormality. Although a parent who carries a translocation is frequently normal, their embryo may receive too much or too little genetic material. When this occurs, a miscarriage usually happens. Couples with translocations or other specific chromosome defects may benefit from pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in conjunction with in vitro fertilization.

Many early miscarriages are due to the random (by chance) occurrence of a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. In fact, 60% or more of early miscarriages may be caused by a random chromosomal abnormality, usually a missing or duplicated chromosome. The chance of a miscarriage increases as a woman ages. After age 40, more than one-third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most of these embryos have an abnormal number of chromosomes.

Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. Secondary infertility is as common as primary infertility.

According to statistics collected by the Center for Disease Control, 11% of couples who already have a child go on to experience secondary infertility.  Couples who have had a previous pregnancy often think of themselves as having “normal” fertility, but this isn’t always the case. That’s why it’s important for both the man and woman to have a complete infertility workup as soon as they feel they’re having trouble conceiving.  About one-third of infertility cases are related to male infertility, another third are related to female infertility, and another third are related to problems in both the man and woman, or remain unexplained.

Sometimes when you’re experiencing secondary infertility and need fertility treatment, friends or family may wonder why you are “going to extremes” and insist that since you’ve had a child in the past, you must be able to have one naturally now. If only you “stopped trying”, “relaxed”, “let it happen”, etc.

Be assured that your need for treatment is the same as someone with primary infertility. It is not an “extreme measure” to use medical treatments that may help you have the child you desire, that’s why SAI is here to assist you through third-party reproduction.