For many people, putting the brakes on starting a family often makes sense. Factors can range from wanting to have a stronger foothold on a career path, be more established financially, finding the right partner, and of course, simply wanting to feel “ready.”
However, waiting too long, can affect fertility and lead to heartache.
How Age Affects A Woman’s Fertility
For women, fertility has a finite window of opportunity without medical intervention. As a woman gets older, her chances of getting pregnant decrease exponentially with each decade. When a woman reaches puberty, the 1-2 million eggs she had at birth decrease to 400,000. By age 40, approximately 12,000 eggs are left and, the quantity and quality of egg reserve diminishes.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse for women younger than 35. After 35, because the window of opportunity begins to decrease, fertility experts recommend seeing a fertility specialist after 6 months of unprotected sex if there is no pregnancy. Nearly 10% of women in the United States experience infertility.
“Age is the most important factor affecting a woman’s fertility and ability to have a healthy pregnancy,” said Paul MacKoul, MD. “At age 40, fertility has fallen by half, and there is only a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally.”
MacKoul continues: “There is also an increased risk of GYN conditions affecting fertility throughout a woman’s 30s and into her 40s. Fibroids affect more than 80 percent of the women in the United States, and affect African American women at higher rates and more aggressively. Endometriosis affects more than 176 million women worldwide and if left untreated can lead to infertility. These conditions can affect a woman earlier as well, but are often left undiagnosed or underdiagnosed for extended periods of time, so that by the time they are addressed by a specialist, they have already caused extensive damage.”
Treat GYN Conditions First
The existing business model takes advantage of the percentage of failure expected per IVF cycle, and often ignores preliminary screening of treatable GYN conditions as an underlying cause of infertility.
As families consider expanding, it is important to make sure that the uterus is a healthy place for a baby to grow. Removal of fibroids and endometriosis has shown to improve fertility, often making it possible for women to conceive naturally, and improving in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) rates. Other GYN conditions that can affect fertility include pelvic adhesions, uterine polyps, uterine septum and inflammation of the fallopian tubes (hydrosalpinx).
When OBGYNs or reproductive endocrinologists ignore these conditions, women can experience higher rates of failure while paying for expensive fertility treatments. Women who have conceived successfully after being treated for GYN conditions often feel like they wasted a significant amount of time, money and emotion.
Advanced laparoscopic procedures to remove fibroids, endometriosis or other GYN condition can be performed in an outpatient setting with a recovery time of just days. This means that women who need to treat a GYN condition before trying to conceive can recover in the comfort of their homes, and return to a normal routine faster.
Repeated IVF Cycles Improves Birthrate; High Cost of Treatments Creates Barriers
Approximately 7.4 million women around the world have received infertility services in their lifetime.
While, fertility treatments can help many couples achieve their dream of having a family, IVF treatments, the most costly fertility intervention available, may be out of reach for some. Unsuccessful fertility treatments are common. The success rate for IVF is 40 percent. The 60 percent failure rate provides an automatic need for a multi-cycle contingency plan, which, due to the emotional nature of the service, has a high value. The average cost is ~ $12,000, plus additional medication costs of $3,000 to $5,000. Additional genetic testing can push the total upwards of $25,000 per treatment.
A study of 156,947 women in the U.K. published in JAMA showed that increasing the number of IVF cycles actually improved the odds of having a baby. The median age when women started IVF was 35 years, and the median amount of time they were infertile was four years. The study showed that the first four IVF attempts had a 29.5 percent birth rate. By the 6th IVF cycle, the birth rate was up to 68 percent.
For people who want a biological child of their own but are struggling with infertility, this level of treatment can provide hope, but also comes with a hefty price-tag. Many are willing to undergo the intense hormonal treatments necessary to complete each cycle; few are able to take-on such a steep financial burden concentrated within a short timeframe.
Examining All Fertility Options
Potential parents need to do a lot of research to ensure that they choose a fertility clinic and reproductive endocrinologist who partners with successful GYN surgical specialists. Treating endometriosis, fibroids or other complex GYN conditions first should be a priority.
The CIGC exclusive techniques for endometriosis excision with DualPortGYN and LAAM fibroid removal for fertility were designed to treat complex GYN conditions while minimizing pain from surgery. All CIGC procedures ensure efficiency by controlling for blood loss and mapping the pelvic cavity so that visibility during surgery is high. Once these initial techniques are complete, the time spent on the surgery is fast. The less time under anesthesia is better for the patient. It is also important to perform a thorough procedure. Using these advanced techniques, CIGC specialists can achieve both.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. CIGC minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind. Book a consultation at The Center for Innovative GYN Care or call 888-787-4379.