One out of ten Filipinos are infertile, according to research. Although millions of women deal with fertility problems, but many of them also go on to have babies. This section will help you know more about female infertility, diagnosis, and treatments available in the Philippines.
What Is Infertility
Women who have tried getting pregnant for a year and are still unsuccessful or have had repeated miscarriages may be diagnosed with infertility.
More than 1 out of 10 couples face infertility, and it isn’t just a woman’s problem—men can also be infertile. Difficulty getting pregnant is just as likely to be caused by a problem with a man’s fertility as it is with a woman’s fertility. When a couple is having problems to achieve pregnancy, it is estimated that about:
- 1 out of 3 times it’s due to a problem with the man’s fertility.
- 1 out of 3 times it’s due to a problem with the woman’s fertility.
- 1 out of 3 times it’s due to a problem with both the woman’s and the man’s fertility, or a cause for the problem cannot be found.
This is why the couple usually both get tested for fertility problems when they have problems with getting pregnant.
Causes Of Infertility
The percentage of female infertility seems to be rising, and experts say that one reason for this is because more women wait until they are older before deciding to have children. However, any woman, whether younger or older, single or in a relationship, can have problems with infertility.
A number of things can cause infertility. These include:
- Not ovulating (releasing egg cells) or not ovulating regularly.
- Blocked fallopian tubes which prevent the sperm cell from meeting the egg cell.
- Egg cells have poor quality.
- Shape of the uterus makes it hard for a fertilized egg cell to implant.
There are some cases wherein the cause for someone’s infertility is unknown, and usually classified as unexplained infertility. This diagnosis can be very frustrating, but there are still treatment options that can be considered.
Getting Help For Infertility
A woman may take up to a year to get pregnant, and that’s completely normal. Healthcare providers usually suggest a woman to try for a year before considering testing for infertility. It’s also a good idea to consult a healthcare provider about pre-pregnancy health before starting to attempt getting pregnant.
There are certain health problems and conditions that can make getting pregnant more difficult. Talk to your healthcare provider immediately, and don’t wait for a year of trying if you have a history of:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Irregular periods
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Repeated miscarriages
- Thyroid problem
For women over 35, some healthcare providers suggest that they should have themselves tested for infertility if they are not successful in getting pregnant after six months of trying.
Factors That Increase Infertility
There are certain things may increase a woman’s risk of infertility, and they include:
- History of STIs or health problems that can cause hormonal changes
- Age—being older than 35
- Being overweight or underweight
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
- Environmental toxins, like lead and pesticides
- Excessive drug or alcohol use
- Poor diet
- Smoking cigarettes
Tests For Diagnosing Infertility
Don’t be discouraged if you do not receive an answer immediately, because it may take several months to diagnose infertility. Your healthcare provider will conduct the testing for infertility, which usually includes a physical exam and a review of your medical history. The physical exam is similar to a regular pelvic exam.
Your healthcare provider may also check on your ovaries and uterus using ultrasound, as well as your hormones through a blood test. A couple of blood tests over the course of one menstrual cycle may also be needed.
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG), a special test that checks if the fallopian tubes are open, may also be conducted. For this, you will lie down on an exam table, and have a tube placed into your cervix. Through this tube, a special dye or gas will be released. An x-ray machine will be used to see if the dye moves through the uterus and through the fallopian tubes. If gas is used, two doctors will use stethoscopes to listen for gas bubble sounds.