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KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough talks to Dr. Douglas Austin about infertility, an issue that affects about ten percent of couples.

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 12:31 PM
Updated: Oct 9, 2019 3:08 PM

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Joining me now is Doctor Austin with Women's Care. Dr. Austin works at the fertility center of Oregon and is an expert on women's health in Eugene.

Doctor Austin -- how common is infertility in men and women?

"It occurs in about ten percent of couples."

How do you know... what are the signs that you could suffer from infertility?

"Most couples actually try on their own for a period of time. If the woman is less than 35 years of age, we ask her to try for about a year, making sure she has a good opportunity to try to get pregnant each month. If she has not, we would ask her to come in and have an evaluation. For women over the age of 35 we shorten that to just six months."

What causes infertility?

"About two thirds of the time it's a problem with the woman's system. About a third of the time, it's with men. For women it has to do with ovulation, where surgical problems, sometimes age gets in the way. For men it has to do with poor sperm counts."

What increases the risk?

"The major increased risk happens with aging for women, so as women get older, their fertility declines significantly. It's pretty stable through the late 30's. As the 40's approach, it declines, so by the age of 40, 41, 42... most women will have very little residual fertility."

What are the options for women or men who are having trouble?

"The first thing we look at is the cause of the infertility. For women, the evaluation has a number of steps to it. The first is, for men to do a semen analysis so they can look at numbers and functionality of sperm. For women, it's a bit more complex, because women's systems are a bit more complex so we first assess if the quality of her ovulation is ideal. Then we look at her anatomy to make sure all the parts that are necessary for having a successful pregnancy are there and that they're working well."

In this day and age, there's a lot of options for women and men who are having trouble?

"Lots of options. Pretty much for all couples, if they're willing to use technology and maybe compromise in some way the way they come into this, what their family is going to look like, everyone can have a baby."

So, what is your advice if people are at home and they're having trouble? It's got to be hard for a woman or a man to come in and say "we need help".

"It is. It's probably the biggest impediment to people getting help is actually asking for help. Most couples who are having a difficult time know they're having a difficult time but because it is such a personal private part of our lives, most people don't even talk to their doctor about it, so they don't get a referral for more advanced infertility care."

But, they should at least try because there are plenty of options out there?

"Absolutely."

Thank you so much for joining us today. For more information go to kezi.com where we have a link to the Women's Care site.

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