Defining Infertility
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system. Couples are considered infertile if they have been unable to achieve a pregnancy after twelve months of unprotected sexual intercourse. Approximately six million women in the United States along with their partners are affected by infertility. Men and women are affected equally. A healthy embryo and an adequate hormonal environment are necessary to achieve a full-term pregnancy.

Causes of Infertility
Approximately one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to female factors and approximately one-third can be attributed to male factors. Infertility can also involve both partners and have unexplained etiologies.

Diagnosis of Infertility
After a year of unprotected intercourse, couples are advised to seek help for infertility evaluation. Both partners should have a complete physical examination.

The male may submit a specimen for semen analysis. The female may undergo evaluation for ovulation, a postcoital examination, and evaluation of tubal patency. Laboratory testing may also be preformed for one or both partners.

Treatment of Infertility
Treatment of the male may include surgery of the reproductive tract. Male hormone levels may be tested.

Female patients may be given medications to improve ovulation. These medications may result in multiple gestations. Surgical therapy may be required for pelvic pathology.

Lifestyle Changes
The couple is encouraged to practice a healthy lifestyle. Smoking should be discontinued. Excess alcohol should be avoided. Weight loss should be considered if either partner is obese.

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