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Flashcards in Infertility Deck (28):


multifactorial with mied etiologies


infertility- black and white definition

failure of a couple to conceive after 12 months of regular intercourse without use of contraception in women less than 35yo OR failure to conceive after 6 months of regular intercourse in women 35 years or older



the probability of achieving pregnancy in one menstrual cycle; it is a more accurate descriptor because it recognizes varying degrees of infertility


etiology of infertility diff in each sex?

believed to be roughly equally divided between male and female causes- approx 1/3 of affected couples experience a combined problem


fecundability teaches that:

- the possibility of infertility may be suspected after only 6 mos of unprotected intercourse without conception
- decreases over time and with increasing age of the female partner


decrease in fecundability with aging likely d/t

decline in both the quantity and quality of the ooctyes


Absolutes: infertility occurs when there is a:

- azoospermia (no sperm cells in ejaculate)
- longstanding amenorrhea
- bilateral tubal obstruction


Not so absolutes: infertility occurs when

- reduced # of sperm compare to absolute absence (from testicular atrophy, could be the consequence of taking testosterone)
- oligomenorrhea with some ovulatory cycles
- partial tubale obstruction
- intermittent ovulation


biggest caveat aside from absolute when's

an abnormal test result cannot be said to be the cause of infertility in all couple


when to start evaluating who

- initiate evaluation after 12 mos of unprotected frequent intercourse in women under 35 w/o risk factors
- initiate eval after 6 mos for women 35- 40
- initiate eval upon presentation despite less than 6 mos for women 40+ years, women with oligomenorrhea/ amenorrhea, women w/ h/o chemo, raditation, or advanced endometriosis, women w/ known or suspected uterine/ tubal dx, and women whose male partner has a h/o groin or testicular surgery, adult mumps, impotence or other sexual dysfunction, chemo/ radiation or h/o subfertility wi/ another partner


initial diagnostic eval should include:

complete h&p and PE, eval of both partners performed concurrently, same approach used in both primary and secondary infertility


primary infertility

when a woman has never had a successful birth of a child- potentially more ominous dx than secondary


secondary infertility

difficulty conceiving after any prior conception with a successful birth


infertility eval- what history to ask about (male)

duration of infertility, fertility in other relationships, medical and surgical hx, including testicular surgery and h/o mumps or adult chicken pox, meds, h/o chemo/ radiation, smoke cigs or weed, ETOH use, environmental/ occupational exposures, sexual dysfunction or impotence, frequency of sex, use of lubricants, previous infertility testing/ therapies, and family hx of birth defects, mental retardation or reproductive failure


infertility eval- what history to ask about (female)

duration, # and outcome of any prior pregnancies (including ectopic and miscarraiges) with the same or diff partner, any and all gyn hx, menstual hx, changes in hair growth/ body weight/ breast discharge, other medical and surgical hx, meds, h/o chemo/ radiation, smoke cigs or weed, ETOH use, environmental/ occupational exposures, exercise/ dietary hx, frequency of sex and use of lub, previous infertility testing/ therapies, family hx of birth defects, mental retardation or reproductive failure, and any pelvic/ abdominal pain or sx of thyroid dx


when do women have the highest chance of getting pregnant?

1- 2 days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation**


to get pregnant what has to happen

woman must have sex with a man around the time she ovulates (releases egg from the ovary), then the man's sperm must swim up the vagina, into the uterus and up the fallopian tubes (they connect the ovaries to the uterus). when the sperm reaches the egg, at least one sperm must eat through the outer casing of the egg and make it inside AKA fertilize this is fertilization. then the egg must secure itself to the wall of the uterus which is called implantation


factors affecting fertility (age & weight)

maternal age (biological age more important than chronological age) generally women's fertility begins to decline at 34- risks after: gestational DM, preg- insuced HTN, premature labor, stillbirth and placenta problems
body weight- extremes are associated with altered ovarian function


consider ovarian function

- ovulatory dysfunction in 15% of infertile couples and 40% of infertile women
- ovulatory dysfunction can result in mentrual disturbances (oligo/amenorrhea, dysfunctional uterine bleeding) or more subtle disturbances (polumenorrhea, short luteal phase)
- important to discover underlying cause (hyperandrogenism, pituitary tumor, eating disorders, extreme weight loss or exercise, hyperprolactinemia, obesity)


consider normal semen analysis parameters

- volume > 1.5 mL
- pH 7.2- 7.8
- count: 15 million per mL or greater
motility: 32% or greater
- forward progression: greater than 2 (on a scale of 0 to 4, 0 being no movement, 4 being excellent)
- morphology: 30% or greater have normal oval heads, midpiece and tail


abnormal semen analysis requires

the test to be repeated in 4- 6 weeks; if time is not critical 3 mos should be allowed to complete a sperm cycle


if semen parameters are normal

no further male evaluation is necessary unless infertility persists


factors affecting infertility (smoking)

- shown to be reproductive toxin in men and women
- reduces fertility in women, increases rate of spontaneous abortion, and increases incidence of abruptio placentae, placenta previa, bleeding during pregnancy, and premature rupture of placental membranes
- women who smoke generally go through earlier menopause by 1- 5 years
- tobacco decreases sperm motility and density


factors affecting infertility (alcohol)

- ETOH- known human teratogen, embryotoxic
- any degree of etoh intake can decrease chances of conception
- shown to reduce ability to conceive in dose- dependent fashion
- 2+ drinks per day associated with spontaneous abortion


factors affecting fertility ( caffeine, recreational drugs)

caffeine- dose dependent relationship of more than one serving of caffeine has been confirmed to be detrimental fertility
recreational drug use- combined effects of substances of abuse may be additive with those related to etoh consuption and cig smoking


factors affecting fertility (environmental hazards and psychological stess)

environmental hazards- many toxins (lead, mercury, organic solvents) encountered by women may affect reproductive health by decreasing fertility or lead to spontaneous abortion, fetal malformation, or developmental abnormalities
psychological stress- no adequate studies proving stress causes infertility


medications causing ovulatory dysfuntion

- estrogen- progestin contraceptives
- progestins
- antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs
- corticosteroids
- chemo agents


WHO classification of anovulation*

class 1- hypogonadotropic hypogonadal anovulation (hypothalamic amenorrhea) (low) these women have low or low- normal serum follicle stimulating hormon (FSH) concentrations and low GnRH or pituitary unresponsiveness to GnRH
class 2- normogonadotrpic normoestrogenic anovulation (normal) these women secrete normal amts of gonadotropins and estrogens. BUT FSH secretion during follicular stage of cycle is subnormal- this includes women with PCOS
class 3- hypergonadotropic hypoestrogenic anovulation (high) the primary cases are premature failure (absence of ovarian follicles d/t early menopause) and ovarian resistance (follicular form)
hyperprolactinemic anovulation- these women re anovulatory bc hyperprolactinemia inhibits gonadotropin and therefore estrogen secretion; they may have regular anovulatory cycles but more have oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea. Serum gonadotropins usually normal