Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after a year of regular sexual intercourse without contraception. Approximately 15% of couples worldwide experience infertility. Contrary to popular belief, infertility is not only a women's problem. Men also have infertility problems. Most cases of infertility can be treated with medical intervention. There are 2 types of infertility:
Both men and women are affected by infertility. In order to get pregnant, all steps starting from ovulation to fertilization of egg should happen correctly.
Semen analysis in men explains about the sperm counts, movement, and shape that determine the ability to fertilise women. The following are the common causes of male infertility:
• Disruption of Ejaculatory function
Overheat in the testicles occurs because a varicose vein in the scrotum become enlarged. It may affect the sperm concentration and shape. The sperm produced in the testicles, ejaculates a low number of sperms and sometimes seminal fluid is not enough for sperm to swim. The abnormal shape also makes it impossible to travel fast and reach the egg.
• Medical conditions
Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, testicular infection, cancer, and certain types of autoimmune disorders may cause testicular failure.
• Damaged sperm Production
Cancer treatment involving the use of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can impair sperm production. Radiation therapy has a risk to remove one or both testicles.
• Hormonal disorders such as, improper function of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands impair the functioning of the production of testosterone hormones that maintain normal testicular function.
• The problem in the delivery of sperm occurs due to blockage in the testicle or damage or injury to the reproductive organs. It can create sexual problems.
• Hypospadias creates abnormality in the urethral opening and makes it harder for sperm to reach to female's cervix.
• Overexposure to certain environmental toxins, pesticides, herbicides, certain chemicals, radiation, and overheat raise body temperature and impact fertility.
• The use of certain medications and supplements such as anti-inflammatory drugs, long-term use of anabolic steroids, marijuana, cocaine, smoking, and illicit drugs reduces sperm counts and mobility.
Conditions affecting the functioning of ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus contribute to female infertility. Causes of female fertility included:
• Hormonal disorders such as more production of prolactin may disrupt the release of eggs monthly. Overproduction/underproduction of thyroid hormone affects the menstrual cycle and creates a hormonal imbalance.
• Polycystic ovary syndrome creates irregularity in ovaries functioning. PCOS is the most common cause of ovulation disorders.
• Women with a diminished ovarian reserve may be able to conceive naturally after a certain age even the production of eggs is declined due to ovaries inefficiency. So, diminished ovarian reserve might be a problem for women above 35 years of age.
• Fallopian tube obstruction and blockage often occur by inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis). It prevents the egg from traveling from the ovary to the uterus. Benign or non-cancerous tumors in the muscular wall of the uterus, interfere and block the fallopian tube and prevent sperm to fertilize an egg.
• Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) causes the women not to ovulate normally. Excessive exercise, weight loss, stress, and eating disorders cerate FHA conditions.
• Premature ovarian inefficiency may occur due to chemotherapy, pelvic radiation therapy, or certain medical treatment.
• Early menopause, before the age of 40 years, also stops the functioning of ovaries. Immune system diseases or certain genetic conditions may contribute to early menopause.
• Pelvic surgery and ruptured appendicitis can create scarring and damaged tissue to block the fallopian tube.
• Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, illegal drugs, steroids, marijuana, or cocaine can result in ovarian failure and affect fertility.
The main symptom is, if pregnancy does not happen after regular intercourse with unprotected sex. Irregular or absent menstrual periods also cause a lack of ovulation. Some health problem also risks the increase of fertility. A woman age 35 years or older and didn't conceive should see a health care provider.
A doctor starts with a preliminary assessment of medical and sexual history from both partners.
Infertility can be treated with medicines, surgery, or artificial reproductive methods.
Infertility treatment in Men
Infertility treatment for women
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