Concepts of Fertility
There are basically three crucial steps in the management of patients considering fertility potential. They include:
- Diagnostic evaluation for both the male and female factors
- Understanding the financial aspects for the individual/couple
- Deciding when treatment will be instituted and what that treatment will be
The majority of decisions are based upon diagnostic information from a medical standpoint. Obtaining the proper information regarding male and female fertility factors is of the utmost importance. Understanding the fundamentals of what makes fertility possible is key. These factors include an understanding about the uterus, ovaries and sperm. These of course are the foundations of what makes a baby and a successful pregnancy. So the diagnostic evaluation is geared towards understanding these issues.
Once these issues are understood, the patient/couple can make intelligent, informed decisions about what treatment options are available, how successful those treatment options can be and ultimately what treatment option best suits them.
Once the decision has been made about which treatment option is to be pursued, the final decision is “when do we proceed with treatment?” Only when one has a complete understanding of the issues can treatment be pursued, in an optimal fashion. In turn, this maximizes the overall chance of success of the chosen treatment; the ultimate goal.
Ultimately, we are trying to answer a series of questions that include:
- What are the problems/factors that are adversely affecting fertility?
- What are the available treatment options?
- What are the chances, given the patient’s/couple’s set of circumstances, of any treatment resulting in an ongoing pregnancy?
- How do we best pursue the treatment and manage the treatment to optimize our chances?
- What are the costs related to the treatment options?
- When can we initiate treatment?
Hopefully, understanding this basic information and “ground rules” is helpful. Understanding the concept of fertility goes a long way in understanding how we can address the situation for any individual couple.