Although there is no single definition of the term infertility, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, it typically refers to a lack of conception after a reasonable period of sexual intercourse without contraception (one year for women who are under 35 years, 6 months for women over 35 years).
Couples experiencing infertility may feel a variety of emotions, including sadness, frustration and disappointment. It is important to know that you are not alone as 1 out of 6 couples in Canada experience infertility (Ref: fertilitymatters.ca/what-is-infertility).
Infertility is often difficult and frustrating because couples find themselves longing for – and then forced to alter – their shared expectations for the future.
If you are under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for more than 1 year and have been unable to get pregnant, you should make an appointment with a doctor. If you are over 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for more than six months, you should speak with a doctor. There are many factors that contribute to infertility and your doctor can help you start to figure out the next steps.
Interventions can include surgery, fertility drugs that boost sperm production and ovulation, insemination and in vitro fertilization. In Calgary, the Regional Fertility Program provides diagnosis and assessment of infertility, counselling and treatments. Fertility testing and counselling are covered by Alberta Health Care, however, treatments for New Reproductive Technologies are not which means there are associated costs. The Regional Fertility Program requires a doctor’s referral, so the first step is to consult your physician. If you do not have a family doctor, any walk-in clinic can give you a referral.
More people are choosing natural health fertility treatments instead of, or in addition to, medical interventions. Naturopathy looks at health as a whole system and not simply as a problem with the reproductive parts. A natural health practitioner may recommend changes to your diet and exercise, prescribe herbs, and suggest acupuncture or other health treatments depending on what your body needs.