Guest blog by Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., “Dr. Sherry,” an award-winning OB-GYN, entrepreneur, author, and women’s health expert, and has been a practicing OB-GYN for 25 years in Santa Monica, California.
Are you really infertile?
Before you start to panic, you should know the ground rules when it comes to being diagnosed with infertility. The general definition of infertility in women is when you and your partner have had unprotected intercourse for 12 months, and have not been able to get pregnant.
There are other considerations to take into account such as: medical history, advanced maternal age, or other physical female conditions that don’t fit into this definition of infertility. As an example, for women over the age of 35 years old, the definition may be unprotected intercourse for 6 months without getting pregnant. The greatest risk factor for infertility is a women’s age.
It may surprise you to know only 11 percent of women are affected by infertility. For women with infertility, there is often an inability to produce a healthy egg, an egg may be unable to travel to the uterus, or the cause can be unexplained. 40 percent of infertility is caused by this “female factor.” Another 40 percent of infertility is due to what is called “male factor,” and occurs from an abnormal semen analysis. The shape, volume, and motility of the sperm are abnormal, so it cannot find or fertilize a woman’s egg. Ten percent of couples have unexplained infertility–not identifying a male or female factor.
The good news is that up to 90 percent of infertile couples will get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. Once the diagnosis is made and infertility treatment is given, a successful pregnancy will occur in the majority of cases. Identifying the problem is half the battle for these couples.
A diagnosis of infertility can be devastating and stressful for a couple. As an OB-GYN, I know it’s important to be supportive and empathetic. I always tell my patients to have a short term and long term plan with the various infertility options that exist. The likelihood of the couple getting pregnant is extremely high, but it may take creative medical technology to make it to the finish line. It may take this delicate group of women longer to get pregnant, but I can guarantee it will be well worth the wait!
Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., “Dr. Sherry,” is an award-winning OB-GYN, entrepreneur, author, and women’s health expert, and has been a practicing OB-GYN for 25 years in Santa Monica, California. The Hollywood Reporter named her as one of the best doctors in Los Angeles; Castle Connolly named her as a Top Doctor and Exceptional Women in the specialty of Obstetrics & Gynecology; and she was selected as a 2017 Southern California Super Doctor. She recently received a Patients’ Choice Award for Compassionate Doctor Recognition and was named as a Top 10 Obstetrics and Gynecologist. She received her doctorate in medicine from New York Medical College and completed her OB-GYN residency at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. Dr. Sherry co-founded Cycl, the first of its kind wellness brand for women by women based on her ground-breaking 7 Cycls™ approach that tracks the 7 distinct and individualized cycles women experience in their lives. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and three sons.