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Reproductive Health (cont.)

Fertility and Infertility

Infertility is the term health care providers use for women who are unable to get pregnant, and for men who are unable to impregnate a woman, after at least one year of trying.

In women, the term is used to describe those who are of normal childbearing age, not those who can't get pregnant because they are near or past menopause. Women who are able to get pregnant but who cannot carry a pregnancy to term (birth) may also be considered infertile.

Infertility is a complex problem – it does not have a single cause because getting pregnant is a multi-step chain of events. The cause of infertility can rest in the women or the man, or can be from unknown factors or a combination of factors.

Contraception

Contraception, also known as birth control, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Some types of birth control include (but are not limited to):

  • Barrier methods, such as condoms, the diaphragm, and the cervical cap, are designed to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization.

  • Intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small device that is inserted into the uterus by a health care provider. The IUD prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. An IUD can stay in the uterus for up to 10 years until it is removed by a health care provider.

  • Hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills, injections, skin patches, and vaginal rings, release hormones into a woman's body that interfere with fertility by preventing ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.

  • Sterilization is a method that permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant. Sterilization involves surgical procedures that must be done by a health care provider and usually cannot be reversed.

The choice of birth control depends on factors such as a person's overall health, age, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners, desire to have children in the future, and family history of certain diseases. A woman should talk to her health care provider about her choice of birth control method.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Reproductive Health - Experience Question: Please describe your menstrual cycle and menopause.
Reproductive Health - Pregnancy Question: Did you see a doctor before you got pregnant? Please share your experience.
Reproductive Health - Infertility Question: Please discuss your experience with infertility work-ups and treatment.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/reproductive_health/article.htm

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