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If you and your partner have been unable to get pregnant after a year of having unprotected sex, you may be facing infertility.

While infertility can be devastating, many couples can have healthy babies with advanced fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Infertility: what you should know

  • About 15 percent of couples trying to get pregnant deal with infertility.
  • Infertility also includes recurrent miscarriages or stillbirths.
  • Men and women are equally affected by infertility. If you have been unable to get or stay pregnant after a year of trying, both you and your partner should go through fertility testing.

Causes of infertility in women

In women, infertility causes include the following:

  • Endometriosis
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes (sometimes caused by pelvic inflammatory disease or previous surgeries)
  • Reduced number of eggs due to advanced age
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Fibroids

Causes of infertility in men

In men, infertility can be caused by the following:

Infertility diagnosis

There are a number of tests to diagnose infertility — and conditions that cause infertility — in women and men. Many of these tests can also help determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for fertility treatment.

For women

  • Blood tests to check hormone levels (e.g., progesterone and follicle stimulating hormone [FSH]).
  • Charting your body temperature first thing in the morning for a month to check for a temperature increase that indicates ovulation.
  • FSH and clomid challenge test, which helps predict your ovarian reserve and whether or not IVF is a viable option for you.
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is an X-ray looking for blockages in your fallopian tubes and other reproductive problems that may hinder your ability to get pregnant.
  • Pelvic ultrasound to examine the size and structure of your uterus and ovaries.
  • Laparoscopy, a procedure done under general anesthesia that allows your doctor to examine your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries for abnormalities. If endometriosis, scar tissue or other problems are found, your doctor can typically remove these during the procedure.
  • Luteinizing hormone urine test to predict when you will ovulate.
  • Thyroid function tests to determine if thyroid disorders are playing a role in your infertility.

For men

  • Medical history and physical exam to evaluate possible physical causes of infertility, such as varicocele.
  • Semen analysis to determine sperm count, shape, appearance and mobility.
  • Blood tests that look at testosterone, FSH, LH and prolactin levels.
  • Urinalysis to determine if an infection is causing infertility.

How can I get help for infertility?

Talk to your primary care doctor, urologist or OB/GYN at Rush about your difficulties getting or staying pregnant. Infertility experts at Rush can help you get to the root of your problem and offer treatments to help you have a baby. 

Care for infertility at Rush

If you are having problems becoming pregnant or having a baby, your doctor may recommend fertility treatments.

For women

  • Fertility drugs
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)

For men

  • Hormone treatments
  • Repair of a varicocele
  • Vasectomy reversal
  • Medications to treat infections

Why choose Rush for infertility care

  • At Rush, you'll find one of the most experienced infertility and reproductive endocrinology programs in Chicago. Doctors at the center provide compassionate care to couples facing even the most complicated infertility issues. This includes those who have not had success with conventional IVF.
  • Reproductive specialists partner with urologists at Rush to diagnose and treat infertility in men. The urology program is consistently named as one of the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The Clinical Andrology Laboratory at Rush is a CLIA-accredited facility that offers a variety of comprehensive tests (e.g., semen analysis, sperm longevity), therapeutic processing of semen samples for artificial insemination and semen cryopreservation for semen storage.
  • Reproductive specialists at Rush are heavily involved in research that has led to advancements in reproductive medicine. That means you’ll have access to innovative techniques and technologies not widely available.
  • Doctors who specialize in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Rush understand the highly emotional nature of infertility. They offer you the expertise, support, and care you need for infertility treatment and your first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Interventional radiologists at Rush can treat problems affecting fertility, such as uterine fibroids and varicoceles, using minimally invasive techniques.

Departments and programs that treat this condition