Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of regular intercourse without use of contraception. Causes of infertility include female and male factors in addition to unknown factors. Infertility does increase with age as egg and sperm quality decrease and as women and men develop more medical conditions.
How Common Is this?
What is the Cause?
Female factor infertility accounts for over one-third of infertility experienced by couples. Ovulatory disorders, endometriosis, and blocked fallopian tubes are common causes. The prevalence of male infertility is estimated to be 12%. The main cause of male infertility is decreased or abnormal sperm. Additional risk factors for infertility include lifestyle factors like smoking.
Infertility and the IVF Cycle
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). IVF involves fertilizing an egg with sperm in a laboratory to create an embryo. The embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus for implantation and pregnancy. This process involves multiple steps and medications.
Egg Maturation: Illustration of Typical LH Surge/Action
In the normal menstrual cycle, egg maturation is promoted by a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH). In IVF, prior to egg retrieval, women receive medications to promote egg maturation. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a serious complication of IVF that occurs when the ovaries are hyperstimulated by these medications. Severe OHSS has been reported in up to 2% of women undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation, and in up to 20% of women at high-risk for OHSS. Common medications used for egg maturation include human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and GnRH agonists.
hCG does not produce a LH surge, but acts on LH receptors. hCG has a long half-life and can increase the risk of OHSS. GnRH agonists are used to reduce the risk of OHSS. Compared to the natural LH surge, GnRH agonists result in a sharp, short increase in LH.
Turning Science Into Medicine
Having a child is important to many women and men. At Myovant, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to build full, meaningful lives, which often includes children. This is why we are investing in innovative research to develop improved treatments for infertility.
Starting The Conversation
Infertility can be a difficult topic to bring up with your healthcare provider or loved ones. Here are some helpful resources to connect you with information and community so that you can have the conversations that matter.
Resolve: The National Infertility Association provides community support and education to empower people who are struggling to conceive.
Learn more at resolve.org
The Office on Women’s Health provides information and a helpline for individuals struggling with infertility.
Learn more at womenshealth.gov
Path2Parenthood connects individuals and couples with healthcare providers and information to take steps toward building their family.
Learn more at path2parenthood.org
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provides a comprehensive list of resources for individuals and couples trying to conceive.
Learn more at reproductivefacts.org