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Infertility affects about every tenth couple in the U.S.  Recent medical advances make it possible for most couples willing to undergo a variety of treatments to have a baby.

Getting pregnant can be a challenge for many couples.  If a couple has not been able to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex, they should seek help, says Dr. Ricardo Loret de Mola, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  He explains the percentage of couples with infertility problems.

“... it’s about 10 percent of the population of people of reproductive age.  That means it’s people the ages of 18 to 45 as defined by the state and the World Health Organization. So this is a problem that tends to increase in risk and rates as patients get older. So, In general, it’s 10 percent, but for someone who is 40, it could be well over 50 percent.”

Loret de Mola says problems with conceiving a child are equally associated with men and women.  He says there are many safe and effective therapies for overcoming infertility.  A full evaluation usually requires a few visits.  He explains some of the tests performed by fertility specialists.

“... we typically will do a test to see if their uterus and fallopian tubes are normal, so that’s a hysterosalpingogram  That’s one test. A semen analysis on the husband, that’s a second test. We do some testing to make sure that the patient is ovulatory and that they have good quality of eggs.” 

Loret de Mola says any couple who is having difficulty conceiving should talk with their primary care physician who may refer them to an infertility specialist or a special clinic such as the SIU Fertility and IVF Center in Springfield.  They also can check the American Society of Reproductive Medicine website,

Ruth Slottag