What is Infertility?

If a fertile couple, that is, who has a potential to create a pregnancy, has sufficient intercourse in an unprotected menstrual cycle, the woman’s chance of conceiving is only about 20-25%. Thus, a couple planning a pregnancy should achieve this in 4-5 months. Of course, not every woman gets pregnant during this period. In such a case, the most likely factor is not that there is a problem with this couple, but the couple’s “lucklessness” of not catching this 20-25% chance. When the couple increases the trial period, pregnancy will likely occur.

Some of the couples who fail to conceive despite their attempts are in the category of “subfertile”. The word subfertile is used here in the sense, whose “fertility”, that is, “the ability to conceive (fertility) is relatively low”, in simple terms, “who conceives difficult”. Even if such a couple has regular intercourse during an unprotected menstrual cycle, the probability of a woman getting pregnant per month can be reduced to around 2-3%. If such a couple is not treated, pregnancy will probably occur within a trial period of only 4-5 years.

Another group of couples is in the 0% category in terms of getting pregnant. In such a couple, there is no possibility of pregnancy if the factors preventing pregnancy are not treated.
This category of 0% constitutes a very small proportion of “infertile” couples, and possible causes are clogged Fallopian tubes in the woman, no egg to be fertilized in the woman, very low or no sperm in the man, or a combination of all these.

Definition of “infertility”

Infertility is the absence of pregnancy despite having unprotected and sufficient sexual intercourse during 12 cycles (the cycle: the period from the first day of a menstrual period to the first day of the next period, that is, the menstrual cycle). There is primary infertility if no pregnancy has occurred before, and secondary infertility if there has been at least one previous pregnancy.  Although it is defined as “kısırlık” in Turkish, the term infertility will be used in this article.

As it can be understood from the definition of infertility, before you suspect that there is a defect in yourself or your partner, it is beneficial to try for 12 cycles (approximately one year) and to consult a doctor at the end of this period. During this one-year waiting period, you can get the chance to get pregnant and get rid of the psychological, physical and financial burdens of the tests for infertility.

There are also couples who need to apply without waiting for 12 cycles: If the expectant mother is 35 years or older, and if one of the couples has a condition known to prevent pregnancy, it is beneficial for these couples to consult a doctor earlier.

Reasons for not being able to conceive

We mentioned that the most common reason for not getting pregnant is “not being able to catch up” with a monthly 20-25% chance.
Of course, as you extend the trial period, you can catch the chance of pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur after a certain period of time (at least 12 cycles of trial), you should consult a doctor. Examination and evaluations are necessary to reveal the reason(s) of not getting pregnant.
When the causes of infertility are investigated in a couple, who cannot conceive, and when a problem is detected, the problem is found in women with 40% of the cases, in men with 40% of the cases, and both in women and men with 20% of the cases.

In about 10% of couples who are tested for infertility, there is no obvious reason for not getting pregnant. In these couples, although the tests show that there is ovulation, although the fallopian tubes are open and although the spermiogram is normal, pregnancy does not occur. In this case, a diagnosis of “unexplained” infertility is made. The proportion of couples who fall into the category of unexplained infertility is gradually decreasing. Because as technology develops and as new scientific advances are made, some of the “unexplained” phenomena are enlightened.

Effect of age

Take 100 randomly selected couples, consisting of 100 women aged 25 and 100 men whose spouses are “of the appropriate age”. According to statistical data, when this couple has regular unprotected intercourse, 50% of women become pregnant in 5.5 months. Again, according to statistics, for every 5-year increase in a woman’s age, the duration of conception doubles. A man’s age only slightly influences these figures. According to these figures, one out of every 7 women in the age group of 30-34, one out of every 5 women in the age group of 35-39, one out of every 4 women in the age group of 40 and older will face the problem of not being able to conceive after a one-year trial. This means that the age of the woman is an important factor in terms of pregnancy.

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