Female Fertility 101

Everything you ever needed to know (but were afraid to ask) about female fertility. We talk with Dr. Julie Lamb, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Pacific NW Fertility in Seattle who also serves as a clinical faculty at the University of Washington for this introduction to female fertility 101.

Hit the Highlights
  1. Understanding the menstrual cycle in a healthy woman.
    • What can interfere with this cycle?
  2. Understanding the basic of conception.
  3. Basics of Infertility
    • How is infertility defined?
    • How common is it?
    • What conditions would warrant an immediate infertility workup without waiting the recommended amount of time
      • Absence of or irregular menstrual cycle
      • Known or suspected uterine, tubal, or peritoneal disease
      • Stage III or stage IV endometriosis
      • Known or suspected male infertility
      • Surgery on female reproductive tract
      • Fibroids
    • Recurrent Pregnancy Loss-defined
  1. What percentage of infertility is caused by the female partner, the male partner, or both?
  2. What causes a woman to not ovulate?
    • PCOS
    • Endocrine abnormalities
    • Thyroid disorders
    • Body weight
  3. Initial workup for women who meet the definition of infertility.
    • Essential components of an initial workup include a review of the medical history, physical examination, and additional tests. For the female partner, tests will focus on ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, and structural abnormalities.
      • What questions should be asked about medical history that would be relevant to the potential etiologies of infertility?
      • What should be the focus in the physical exam?
      • What tests are commonly used to determine ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, and structural abnormalities.
    • Given the prevalence of male infertility, a women’s health specialist may reasonably obtain the male partner’s medical history and order the semen analysis.
    • Imaging of the female reproductive organs provides valuable information on conditions that affect fertility. Imaging modalities can detect tubal patency and pelvic pathology and assess ovarian reserve.
      • What imagining is usually recommended to detect tubal patency and pelvic pathology and assess ovarian reserve

7. Workup for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

8. Treatment Options for Infertility

    • Natural conception rate
    • Understanding the basics of fertility medications
      • Medications
      • How are they administered
      • Success rates
    • IUI-
    •  IVF
      • Success rate

9. Treatment Options for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

    • Success rates
    • Differences between 1st and 2nd trimester miscarriages

10. How does the infertility workup differ for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and Gender         Nonconforming Individuals?

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Music credit: Michael Ashworth

Photo credit: marcelodorileo from Pixabay