Infertility is a complex disorder with significant medical, psychosocial, and economic aspects . Great strides have been achieved in infertility therapy, with new and effective treatments available in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Once the cause of infertility is identified, therapy aimed at correcting reversible etiologies and overcoming irreversible factors can be implemented. The couple is also counseled on lifestyle modifications to improve fertility, such as smoking cessation, reducing excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, and appropriate frequency of coitus (every one to two days around the expected time of ovulation) (table 1). (See "Optimizing natural fertility in couples planning pregnancy".)
Further research on causes of infertility and therapeutic modalities is needed to improve the overall success of female infertility treatment. Reducing the cost of therapy, the risk of multiple gestation, and complications such as ovarian hyperstimulation will improve patient access to, and the safety of, infertility therapy.
The only absolute contraindications to infertility therapy are contraindication to pregnancy and contraindication to use of the drugs used to enhance fertility. The ethics of restricting infertility therapy for other reasons, such as parental child-rearing ability, severe obesity, life-style issues (tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption), are controversial and beyond the scope of this review [2-4]. The parent's marital status, sexual orientation, and HIV status should not be used to deny infertility treatment [5,6].
An overview of the treatment of female infertility is provided here. The evaluation of female infertility, as well as the causes and treatment of male infertility, are discussed separately: