When you long to start a family, one of the hardest things to experience is infertility. Central Maine Healthcare provides sensitive, compassionate care for those couples who are struggling to conceive. Whether you need help with conception or to ensure that the pregnancy goes to full term, our specialist physicians are there to offer support and exceptional skills. We’ve got the best in fertility technology and have the most supportive care providers on our team. Our goal is to help you bring home a new bundle of joy, whether it’s your first or your fourth.
The standard definition of infertility is when a couple has been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for 12 months or longer. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and are starting to wonder if something is wrong, we’ll help you determine what the issue is and find the right treatment options for your situation.
Symptoms of Infertility
While the most obvious symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant, you could get checked long before you want to get pregnant based on other symptoms. Some other issues with women’s or men’s reproductive health can be signs of a problem that could cause infertility.
These symptoms include:
- Being 35 or older: As women age, their egg count decreases. There is also a higher chance of eggs being deformed or having issues that could cause a problem with conception.
- Menstrual periods that aren’t regular: Regular cycles fall between 21 and 35 days apart. When a woman bleeds too often or not often enough, it could be a major sign that ovulation isn’t happening or isn’t happening at predictable times.
- Fibroids or polyps on the endometrium: The endometrium is the lining of the uterus where a fertilized egg attaches and grows during pregnancy. If there are fibroids or polyps making the endometrium act unusual or dysfunctional, then a fertilized egg can’t attach easily or at all.
- Issues with pelvic infections or STIs: Infections in the female reproductive organs can cause scarring to the fallopian tubes. This makes those tubes close, blocking the way for sperm to get to the eggs for fertilization.
- Semen abnormalities: If, for any reason, the male partner has had his semen checked or has had infertility issues in the past, ineffective or dysfunctional semen could be a cause of infertility.
Diagnosis of Infertility
Our doctors will first take a thorough medical history of both you and your partner. This will help them understand your menstrual cycle, any previous pregnancies, red flags for hormonal issues, and any previous health problems that might impact fertility. They’ll also do a physical examination to see if there are any obvious physical clues.
Then they might continue with other types of diagnosis and testing, if needed.
These tests might include:
- Laboratory testing: Your doctor might order blood tests that look specifically at your levels of certain hormones. These hormones are critical for pregnancy or they could inhibit conception.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: This ultrasound picture is taken by way of the vagina, where it can capture a detailed view of what’s going on inside your uterus and fallopian tubes. This can help your doctor determine if you might have cysts, fibroids, or polyps that could be causing problems or blocking critical areas for conception.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This is a special type of x-ray that can detect issues in the fallopian tubes and determine if they might be blocked.
- Semen analysis: Your doctor can look for various issues with your partner’s semen to discover if that might be the cause of the infertility. Factors looked for include semen volume, the concentration of sperm to fluid, the sperms’ ability to move correctly, and if the shape and structure of the sperm looks healthy.
Treatment of Infertility
There are many ways we can help you overcome infertility, so you can start or grow your family in the way that you desire. At Central Maine Healthcare, we offer the best in fertility treatments and a supportive environment and team, including partnering with local specialists to ensure you have a full-range of options.
Specifically, we offer the following treatment options for infertility:
- Medications to increase ovulation
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Sperm, egg, or embryo donation process support
- Surrogacy support
- Surgery to correct physical abnormalities