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The good news is that many infertility and reproductive problems can be treated. The first step is a complete fertility work-up and diagnosis.

For women, topics covered at the appointment will include your menstrual, pregnancy and birth control history; medical and surgical history; and lifestyle and work environment. The physical examination typically includes thyroid, breast and pelvic exams. If these tests do not explain your difficulty conceiving, additional tests may be ordered.

The basic work-up for men begins with an appointment with a physician to discuss medical history and perform a physical exam.  Because sexual history may affect fertility, the physician will discuss a variety of topics including possible sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and ejaculatory problems as well as excessive smoking, drinking or drug use, which can affect sperm quality. The office visit will include an examination of the penis and scrotum. Hormone levels will also be evaluated.

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment options for those trying to conceive range from low-tech options like medication therapy and intrauterine inseminations to the higher tech form of assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).

A reproductive endocrinologist can complete your fertility evaluation and help you determine the treatment option that is right for you. A reproductive endocrinologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who has received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility and in vitro fertilization. 

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