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English Fact Sheets & Info Booklets

The ASRM Patient Fact Sheet  is a series produced under the direction of the ASRM Patient Education Committee and the Publications Committee.

These fact sheets may be printed and distributed to patients to enhance patient education as long as the text is not altered and proper credit must be attributed to ASRM.  Additional copies of booklets can be purchased in the ASRM Store

Some Patient Education Fact Sheets are available en Español and 中文版本. 

  

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (booklet)

Abnormal uterine bleeding occurs when either the frequency or quantity of uterine bleeding differs from that mentioned above or the woman has spotting or bleeding between her menstrual periods.

Age and Fertility (booklet)

Generally, reproductive potential decreases as women get older, and fertility can be expected to end 5 to 10 years before menopause.

Am I Ovulating?

Ovulation is the release of an egg from a woman’s ovaries and is essential for getting pregnant.

Assisted Hatching

While the embryo develops, it is surrounded by cells that make up a protective shell (zona pellucida). The embryo naturally breaks out of this shell as it grows. Occasionally, the doctor may ask the laboratory to make a small “crack” in the outer shell of the embryo right before it is placed into the woman’s body (assisted hatching).

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (booklet)

This booklet will help you understand in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) that have become accepted medical treatments for infertility.

Avoiding Conflict in Third-party Reproduction

Third-party reproduction is an arrangement where a person or couple receives help from other(s) to have a child. This help can be in the form of donated eggs, sperm, or embryos; carrying the pregnancy; or a combination of these types of reproductive assistance.

Can I Freeze My Eggs to Use Later If I'm Not Sick?

As women get older, they may encounter difficulty getting pregnant (conceiving) with a healthy baby. Women are born with about 1-2 million eggs. Most of the eggs die off naturally (just like the way we lose skin and hair cells every day).

Conditions Treated with Adnexal Surgery

Surgery can be used to treat problems with your ovaries or fallopian tubes such as cysts, endometriosis or infections. Adnexal surgery involves any of the organs that are on the sides of (“next to”) the uterus (womb), such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Defining Infertility

Infertility is “the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.”

Diagnostic Testing for Female Infertility

An evaluation of a woman for infertility is appropriate for women who have not become pregnant after having 12 months of regular, unprotected intercourse.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

“Dilation and curettage” (D&C) is a short surgical procedure that removes tissue from your uterus (womb). You may need this procedure if you have unexplained or abnormal bleeding, or if you have delivered a baby and placental tissue remains in your womb.

Does My Age Affect My Fertility?

A woman’s age is one of the most important factors affecting whether she is able to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. This is due to several changes that are a natural part of aging.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that grows outside of the uterus (womb). In a normal pregnancy, the egg meets the sperm (is fertilized) in the fallopian tube and the embryo (fertilized egg) travels through the tube to the uterus.

Ectopic Pregnancy (booklet)

The diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy is usually unexpected and is often emotionally traumatic. Many women may have only recently discovered they were pregnant when they receive the diagnosis.

Egg Donation

Egg donation is when a woman (donor) gives her eggs to another woman (recipient) to allow the recipient to have a baby. To donate eggs, the donor must be given medications that will cause her to develop multiple eggs over a single cycle.

Embryo Donation

In the current practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF), some patients may create more embryos (fertilized eggs) than they need. The extra embryos may be cryopreserved (frozen) so that they can be transferred later.

Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a medical procedure that removes the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium.

Evaluation of the Uterus

If you haven’t been able to get pregnant after trying for 6 months, some tests can be done to help find the reason. Your doctor may test your hormone levels, your partner’s sperm, and your reproductive organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus [womb]).

Female Cancers, Cryopreservation, and Fertility

Yes! New technology lets your doctor remove and freeze eggs, fertilized eggs (embryos), or ovarian tissue before treating your cancer. This way, you may be able to have children after your treatment.

Fertility Options After Vasectomy

Vasectomy is currently one of the most common methods of sterilization in the United States. After your vasectomy, if you change your mind about having children, there are two procedures that can help you have a child with your partner.

Fertility Rights and Responsibilities

Can a fertility program or clinic deny treatment to patient(s) if there is concern about the ability to care for the child(ren)? Yes. Fertility programs can withhold services if there are signs that patients will not be able to care for child(ren).

Fibroids and Fertility

Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors of muscle tissue in the uterus. They are also called myomas or leiomyomas.

Gamete (Eggs And Sperm) And Embryo Donation

Gamete and embryo donation is using eggs, sperm, or embryos from someone else in order to help an intended parent(s) have a child. Intended parent is the term used for the person(s) who will raise the child(ren).

Gamete and Embryo Donation: Deciding Whether To Tell

Gamete donation is giving sperm, eggs, both, or embryos to another person/couple so that another person/couple may have a child. This offers patients the opportunity to have child(ren) when sperm and/or eggs or both are not healthy enough to lead to successful pregnancy.

Genetic Screening for Birth Defects

Birth defects, which occur in nearly one in 20 pregnancies, range in severity from minor anatomic abnormalities to extensive genetic disorders or mental retardation. Some couples have a greater than average risk of having a child with a birth defect.

Gestational Carrier (Surrogate)

A gestational carrier (GC), also called a gestational surrogate, is an arrangement where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person (intended parent[s]). When using a GC, the eggs used to make the embryos do not come from the carrier.

Hormonal Contraception

Hormonal contraceptives contain a progestin (progesterone medicine) with or without an estrogen. Both progestin and estrogen are made in a laboratory and are similar to the hormones that all women naturally produce.

Hydrosalpinx

The fallopian tubes are attached to the uterus (womb) on the left and right sides. Normally, the fallopian tube picks up an egg as it is released (ovulated) from the ovary each month, and this is usually where sperm and egg meet.

Hyperprolactinemia (High Prolactin Levels)

Prolactin is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland which sits at the bottom of the brain. Prolactin causes breasts to grow and develop and causes milk to be made after a baby is born.

Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy: What Should I Know?

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is when the thyroid gland produces less thyroid hormone than it should. The thyroid gland is found in the lower part of the throat and partially wraps around the upper windpipe (trachea).

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

A hysterosalpingogram or HSG is an x-ray procedure used to see whether the fallopian tubes are patent (open) and if the inside of the uterus (uterine cavity) is normal. HSG is an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than 5 minutes to perform.

Infertility Counseling and Support: When and Where To Find It

Infertility is a medical condition that touches all aspects of your life. It may affect your relationships with others, your perspective on life, and how you feel about yourself. How you deal with these feelings will depend on your personality and life experiences.

Insulin-sensitizing Agents and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disorder, affecting 5% to10% of women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have a number of conditions that may include irregular menstrual cycles, an increase in facial and body hair, increased weight, and infertility.

Intrauterine Adhesions: What Are They?

Injury to and/or infection of the endometrium may damage the lining and cause formation of adhesions (scar tissue) between the inner walls of the uterus where the walls abnormally adhere or stick to each other. Asherman syndrome is a term used to describe adhesions inside the uterus. 

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

When a woman conceives naturally, sperm travel from the vagina
through the cervix (narrow, lower part of the womb), into the uterus
(womb), and up into one of the fallopian tubes. If sperm arrive in a tube
soon after the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation); the sperm
and egg can meet and unite (fertilization) in the tube.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): What Are the Risks?

IVF is a method of assisted reproduction in which a man’s sperm and a woman’s eggs are combined outside of the body in a laboratory dish. One or more fertilized eggs (embryos) may be transferred into the woman’s uterus, where they may implant in the uterine lining and develop.

Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy (booklet)

An examination of a woman’s internal pelvic structure can provide important information regarding infertility and common gynecologic disorders. Problems that cannot be discovered by an external physical examination may be discovered by laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, two procedures that provide a direct look at the pelvic organs.

Male Infertility Evaluation: What Do I Need To Know?

Male factors alone are the cause of infertility in 20%–30% of couples and contribute to infertility in another 20%–30% of couples. Overall, about one half of infertile couples have male factor causes.

Managing Pelvic Pain

Many women have pain in their pelvis (lower part of the belly) from time to time, usually during their period. However, if you have daily pelvic pain, it could be a sign of a bigger problem with your bladder, bowels, reproductive organs, or pelvic muscles.

Medications for Inducing Ovulation (booklet)

Some women may have difficulty getting pregnant because their ovaries do
not release (ovulate) eggs. Fertility specialists may use medications that work
on ovulation to help these women get pregnant.

Menopausal Transition (Perimenopause): What Is It?

The menopausal transition (perimenopause) is the period that links a woman’s reproductive (childbearing) years and menopause. A woman is said to be in menopause if she has had no menstrual periods for 1 year.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Surgery is termed “minimally invasive” if it uses small or no incisions (cuts). Surgeons see your body’s organs with the help of small telescopes and cameras. Surgical repairs are made with very small instruments. Most problems can be treated at the time of diagnosis as one procedure.

Noncontraceptive Benefits of Birth Control Pills

Most women will use birth control pills at some time in their lives. But many women don’t know that birth control pills also can be used to treat a variety of female problems and can have some surprising health benefits.

Nonhormonal Contraception

Despite a large number of contraceptive options available to couples, it is still thought that 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Therefore, it is important to choose a contraceptive that can be used consistently and correctly.

Normal and Abnormal Puberty in Girls

Puberty refers to the specific physical changes that happen as a child develops into an adult. Though they happen in different areas of the body, these changes are all related to each other.

Optimizing Male Fertility

The chance of a normal couple conceiving is 20% to 37% by three months, 75% by six months, and 90% at one year. Of those couples that do not conceive in the first year, as many as 50% will conceive in the next year.

Optimizing Natural Fertility

Before attempting pregnancy, a woman should make sure she is healthy enough for pregnancy by adopting a healthier lifestyle and taking prenatal vitamins. If she has a medical or genetic condition or risk of one, she should seek advice
from a medical professional before conceiving (becoming pregnant).

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are conditions of having low bone mass
(density). This leads to weakening of the bones and a higher risk of
breaking a bone (fracture).

Ovarian Drilling for Infertility

Often, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do not have regular menstrual periods. This usually means that a woman doesn’t ovulate (release an egg) every month and may have trouble getting pregnant.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is an excessive response to taking the medicines (especially injectable gonadotropins) used to make eggs grow. Rarely, OHSS can result from taking other medications, such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

Ovarian Reserve

A woman’s ability to get pregnant normally decreases as she gets older. In later life, women have fewer eggs, egg quality goes down, and eggs have more abnormalities in their chromosomes (genetic material).

Ovulation Detection

Ovulation, the release of an egg from its follicle in one of a woman’s two ovaries, is one of the most important factors in conceiving a child. Once ovulated, the egg is picked up by one of the fallopian tubes and begins traveling toward the uterus.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormone disorder that affects 5%-10% of women. Like all syndromes, PCOS is a collection of problems that are found together. Not all women with PCOS have all the same symptoms.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing

Your embryos can be tested for abnormal chromosomes before they are transferred to the uterus. This is called preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT.

Reproductive Aging in Women

Your reproductive system ages faster than you may realize. Some women, after completing college, settling into a career, or waiting for the right partner, find that they have problems getting pregnant due to age-related infertility.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is a form of laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is minimally invasive surgery, usually performed in an outpatient setting.

Saline Infusion Sonohysterogram (SHG)

What is saline infusion sonohysterogram (SHG)?
Saline infusion sonohysterography (SIS or SHG) is a procedure to evaluate the uterus and the shape of the uterine cavity.

Sexual Dysfunction and Infertility

What is sexual dysfunction and how common is it?
Sexual dysfunction is a problem in a person’s sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm.

Side Effects of Injectable Fertility Drugs (Gonadotropins)

Gonadotropins are fertility medications given by injection that contain follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) alone or combined with luteinizing hormone (LH). During a regularly occurring menstrual cycle, both FSH and LH are produced by the pituitary gland in the brain to naturally stimulate the ovaries to make a single egg each month.

Smoking and Infertility

Can smoking affect my ability to have a child? 
Most people understand that smoking increases the risk for heart, vascular, and lung disease.

Sperm Morphology (Shape): Does It Affect Fertility?

The most common test of a man’s fertility is a semen analysis. This measures many features of the sperm and semen (the fluid in which the sperm are contained). The most important of these are the number of sperm (sperm count), motility of the sperm (percentage of moving sperm), morphology of the sperm (percentage of normally shaped sperm), and the volume of fluid.

Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are special cells found in very early stage embryos (i.e., 5 days after fertilization of an egg) and in some types of adult tissue. Stem cells are "undifferentiated" cells (sometimes referred to as "pluripotent").

Stress and Infertility

It is not clear how exactly stress impacts fertility. It is not known whether high levels of stress can prevent pregnancy or affect a woman’s chance of conceiving.

Talking to Children About Their Gay and Lesbian Parents

Children with same-sex parents, like all children, need to know that they are loved and cherished unconditionally and that you as their parents will nurture, guide, and protect them. It is through open and honest dialogue among family members that healthy relationships and bonds are created.

Testosterone Use And Male Infertility

Testosterone (also referred to as “T”) is a hormone
produced in men by the testes (testicles). It is involved
in muscle and bone development, hair growth, and
development of sex organs such as the penis and
prostate.

Treatment of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Many women have a miscarriage at one time or another. Miscarriages can happen for many reasons. Having a miscarriage doesn’t mean a woman will have another miscarriage if she tries again.

Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids usually do not require treatment because most patients with fibroids do not have symptoms. Women with fibroids should have regular checkups to determine if the fibroids are changing in size, to track worsening symptoms, and if planning to get pregnant.

Understanding Clinical Studies

Clinical trials are research studies that test how safe and effective new drugs, treatments, and devices are. Health-care providers find patients with specific characteristics or health problems to test the product.

Varicocele

A varicocele is a variation of normal anatomy in which veins in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles) become enlarged and sometimes even visible. Varicocele usually is first found at puberty and is much more common on the left side than on the right side. Sometimes it occurs on both sides.

Weight and Fertility

One of the easiest ways to determine if you are underweight or overweight is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). There are many tables available online (search term: BMI table). Enter your height and weight into the tool to see your BMI.

What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (also called myomas or leiomyomas) are benign (noncancerous) tumors of muscle tissue found in the uterus. They can enlarge and/or distort the uterus (womb) and sometimes the cervix (lower part of the uterus). They grow from the smooth muscle cells in the wall of the uterus.

What Do I Need to Know About Conceiving After Tubal Surgery?

If fallopian tube(s) is/are blocked or damaged, this can stop a woman from getting pregnant and increases the risk of becoming pregnant in the fallopian tube (a “tubal” or “ectopic” pregnancy). Surgery may be performed to open or repair blocked or damaged tube(s).

What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?

Before a man’s sperm can fertilize a woman’s egg, the head of the sperm must attach to the outside of the egg.  Once attached, the sperm pushes through the outer layer to the inside of the egg (cytoplasm), where fertilization takes place.

What is In Vitro Maturation (IVM)?

In vitro maturation (IVM) is when a woman’s eggs are collected and matured outside the body. This is done as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.

What is Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)?

This is a condition when a woman has 2 or more
clinical pregnancy losses (miscarriages) before
the pregnancies reach 20 weeks. Losses are
classified by when they occur.

ReproductiveFacts.org
is a patient education website of ASRM.
 

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