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Infertility Overview

Most men and women do not expect that they will have any trouble getting pregnant. Unfortunately, one in every ten couples will have difficulty becoming pregnant. For many, the cause of their fertility problem is easy to identify, and relatively inexpensive treatment methods result in a successful pregnancy.

The goal for everyone faced with infertility is to build a family using the least costly and invasive, yet most effective methods. It can be daunting for couples to know where to start and what to expect.

This series of articles offers guidance to those faced with infertility. We begin with a brief overview of the causes of infertility. This is followed by a description of the most commonly used diagnostic tests. We finish with an introduction to the treatments most frequently used to achieve pregnancy.

Getting Started

Visit prior to Attempting Pregnancy

There are several basic tests that can be performed prior to conception to optimize the chances of a healthy baby. For this reason, it is recommended that, prior to attempting pregnancy, women should obtain a pre-conception health evaluation by their obstetrician-gynecologist, or care provider. Their care provider will confirm that they have had the appropriate immunizations and give them prenatal vitamins containing extra folic acid, which decreases the risk of birth defects called neural tube defects. This "pre-conception" physician visit is particularly important for women with any serious health issues that could worsen during pregnancy or using medications that may affect the developing fetus.

Things to Keep in Mind

Having children and raising a family is an expectation of many people. Here are some things to keep in mind as you move forward:


Prepared in partnership with Melina Dendrinos, MD, Class of 2008

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This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Sep 15, 2013

Clinical Instructor of Reproductive Biology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University