Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive a child after a year of unprotected intercourse. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (formerly the American Fertility Society), infertility affects 4.5 million couples of childbearing age in this country. Approximately 10 to 25 percent of married couples will experience some degree of infertility. Fortunately, more than 50 percent of these couples are successful in achieving a pregnancy following treatment.

Approximately 25 to 40 percent of cases of infertility are male-related and 40 to50 percent are female-related. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of couples have infertility for which no cause can be found. The basic causes of female infertility are problems with ovulation, the fallopian tubes, and the cervix. Male problems include low sperm count or weak sperm.

Treatments for infertility include reconstructive surgery, laser laparoscopy, induction of ovulation, and artificial insemination.

Advanced reproductive techniques are used when other methods have failed. They include in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, and gamete intrafallopian transfer, or GIFT. These procedures are not suitable for every couple but have achieved increased success in recent years.

For additional information, please visit The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.