We are a team of dedicated and caring professionals who are committed to helping our patients reach their reproductive goals. If you or someone close to you is having difficulty conceiving, we’re here to offer comprehensive support and guidance. We’ll provide the information and resources needed to help you understand your options and find the best way forward. Women’s Health—from Head to Soul.
Infertility is the inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for at least 12 months for individuals under 35 years old and as early as six months for individuals over the age of 35. You can be evaluated at any time, however, if you are struggling.
Infertility can affect both men and women. Symptoms can include difficulty conceiving, irregular menstrual cycles, or hormonal imbalances. If you believe you may be experiencing infertility, contact your healthcare provider. They will review your medical history and may order diagnostic tests to help you determine the cause.
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, your physician may recommend a procedure and order tests to determine if you have infertility. The results from infertility testing will inform your physician who will help guide you and your partner through your treatment options. Procedures may include:
- FemVue: A diagnostic procedure to identify fallopian tube blockage, a common cause of infertility. The procedure is completed in your gynecologist’s office and uses ultrasound to evaluate your uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that helps your gynecologist evaluate possible causes of infertility. Your gynecologist will insert a camera through a small incision near the belly button. They will view the parts of your reproductive system including your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. This will help determine if there are any possible contributors to infertility including endometriosis, scar tissue, ovarian cysts, or fibroids.
- Hysteroscopy: A surgical procedure that uses a camera to look into the uterus and can help diagnose and correct structural problems.
- If you are trying to get pregnant, your gynecologist may prescribe certain medications that will optimize your chances of conceiving. These medications can trigger and increase your likelihood of ovulation and the release of multiple eggs, thereby increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Intrauterine insemination is a form of artificial insemination when you and your partner are struggling with infertility. The procedure involves sperm from your partner or a donor. The sperm are washed with a special solution, concentrated, and placed directly in the uterus at the time of ovulation. The goal is to give the sperm a better chance of fertilizing an egg, resulting in pregnancy.
Referral for IVF
- IVF stands for in vitro fertilization, the process of fertilization of an egg with sperm “in vitro” (outside their normal environment). Your physician will help connect you to a fertility specialist who can perform this procedure. Our team has a collaboration with Carolina Conception, NCCRM, and Carolina Fertility Institute at Greensboro and Wilmington to refer and support you in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some portions of the IVF process, including ultrasounds, can be done locally to minimize travel, consult to your doctor for more information.
How common is female infertility?
Infertility is defined by the CDC as not being able to get pregnant after one year or longer of unprotected sex. It affects 19% of women aged 15–49 years in the United States. The chances of infertility increase as you age.
What causes female infertility?
There are a number of causes of female infertility. These could include damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, or structural causes such as polyps or fibroids in the uterus. We are constantly learning more about the causes of infertility, however up to 30% of cases remain unexplained. Your gynecologist will work with you and your partner to identify the root cause of your infertility.
Can female infertility be prevented?
There are several lifestyle factors that may decrease risk of infertility and increase chances of getting pregnant. Avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking will improve your fertility. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly will also increase your chances of success. Talk with your gynecologist if you are having trouble getting pregnant. They can help you navigate lifestyle changes to decrease stress and optimize your body for conception and pregnancy.
How does age impact female infertility?
Risk of female infertility increases as a woman ages. Women over the age of 35 are at a higher risk of infertility and miscarriage. Decreasing number of eggs, poorer quality eggs, and increased risk of other health conditions increase these risks. Your physician can help determine your risks