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Find out how one woman’s fight against infertility started in tears but ended in hope.Read her story here
What is Infertility?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infertility is
"A disease of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had more than 12 months of regular and unprotected sexual intercourse." 1
If you find it difficult to start a family, you are not alone. You should consult a fertility specialist if you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months.
A successful pregnancy follows four key stages:3-6
- Your body releases an egg from one of your ovaries.
- This usually happens two weeks before your next period.
- Women are fertile for around six days each month.
- The egg must go through a fallopian tube towards the uterus or womb.
- To fertilise an egg, a single sperm has to swim to the egg and be strong enough to penetrate it.
- This process is called fertilisation. Sperm may live in the reproductive tract for around five days.
- Couples hoping to get pregnant are advised to have as much intercourse as possible during the ‘fertility window’, which is around five to six days.
- The fertilised egg has to attach and implant onto the uterus lining.
- Nagórska M, Bartosiewicz A, Obrzut B, Darmochwał-KolarzD. Gender Differences in the Experience of Infertility Concerning Polish Couples: Preliminary Research. Int J Environ Res Public Health.2019;16(13):2337. Published 2019 Jul 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132337.
- Patrick Thonneau, Sophie Marchand, Anne Tallec, Marie-Laure Ferial, Béatrice Ducot, Jacques Lansac, Patrice Lopes, Jean-Marie Tabaste, Alfred Spira, Incidence and main causes of infertility in a resident population (1 850 000) of three French regions (1988–1989)*, Human Reproduction, Volume 6, Issue 6, July 1991, Pages 811–816, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a137433.
- Office on Women’s Health. Infertility Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility Accessed: April 2020.
- Mayo Clinic. Getting pregnant. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/how-to-get-pregnant/art-20047611, Accessed: April 2020.
- Fertility and Sterility (ASRM). Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 100, Issue 3, 631 – 637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.07.011 Accessed: April 2020.
- University of California San Francisco Health. Conception: How it works. Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/conception-how-it-works#:~:text=Adhesive%20sites%20on%20the%20cilia,tube%20takes%20about%2030%20hours. Accessed: April 2020.
- Sorensen J, Bautista K.E, Lamvu G, Feranec J. Evaluation and Treatment of Female Sexual Pain: A Clinical Review.2018 Sorensen et al. Cureus 10(3): e2379. DOI 10.7759/cureus.2379.
- Alimi Y, Iwanaga J, Loukas M, Tubbs RS. The Clinical Anatomy of Endometriosis: A Review. Cureus. 2018;10(9):e3361. Published 2018 Sep 25. doi:10.7759/cureus.3361.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2014). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Available at: http://www.fertilityanswers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos.pdf Accessed: April 2020.