Womens Health: National Infertility Awareness Week – NEWS10 ABC

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) April 18-24 marks National Infertility Awareness Week, uniting all those struggling to build a family.

The CDC reports that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or staying pregnant. This movement urges them to speak up, take action, and seek help.

Getting a conversation started with your doctor really tends to be the best thing you can possible do, said Dr. Katherine Cartwright, of Albany Obstetrics andGynecology.

Trying to start a family can be frustrating and overwhelming. Not conceiving a baby after a year of trying is the official definition of infertility, but Dr. Cartwright says if women have warning signs, that discussion should begin sooner.

Things like a history of really irregular cycles is something that should be worked out by a doctor and looked at without waiting a really long time. Stage 3 and stage 4 endometriosis is something that you should be worked up for earlier than waiting the full 12 months, she said.

Up to 90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures, with very few needing advanced reproductive technologies like IVF

Only about 5% or so of people end up needing invasive procedures, which is the first thing people think of with infertility is really expensive invasive procedures, and for a large number of people just going over their history, their health and doing some really basic testing sometimes is all they need, said Dr. Cartwright.

There may be many reasons why a woman cannot be able to get pregnant. One-third of infertility cases are tied directly to a womens health problem, and another one-third of the time its a health issue related to the man. The other third of infertility cases are generally related to a health issue with both partners, sometimes with no explanation, according to the Mayo Clinic.

*Source: Mayo Clinic

No matter the cause of infertility, it can create a lot of stress for women and/or couples trying to start or grow their families. Thats where support groups become instrumental in helping women or couples cope with the mental challenges of infertility, Dr. Cartwright said.

For some people, they walk in the door and theres a simple solution. We look at lab work, we look at something and say okay, this is something we can fix. Heres a plan, lets move forward and they dont get to that point. For other people, theyre walking in the door, and its been five years of trying. And its the first time theyre seeing someone or the tenth time theyre seeing someone, she said.

I think it really depends on the toll its taken on people but there are tons of emotional support groups. There are people who have been through this, which I think many patients find to be the community that they get the most support from, is people who really know what theyre going through.

Some other causes of infertility can include stress, diabetes, hormonal issues, certain medications, and nutrient deficiency, according to the Albany Obstetrics and Gynecology website.

A woman or couples infertility journey may not always end in pregnancy or birth of a child but seeing patients through their struggles with infertility resulting in a pregnancy and birth of a healthy baby is rewarding, Dr. Cartwright said.

I think happy stories from patients who get pregnant and have a happy healthy baby is the best thing we can ask for. Its unfortunately not always the case for everyone.

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Womens Health: National Infertility Awareness Week - NEWS10 ABC

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