If you are wondering whether you or your partner is infertile, know that you are not alone. About 1 in 10 couples experience infertility throughout the world. The good news is that most of the infertility cases can be treated, whether by addressing the cause or by methods such as artificial insemination or assisted reproductive methods. Stress and depression are the most common emotions observed in couples having infertility issues. Have you wondered what can cause infertility in men and women?
Different factors result in male infertility and this can be measured using semen analysis. Semen concentration, motility and morphology are evaluated to understand the causal agent to be infertile. Minor abnormality in semen doesn’t necessarily state that man is infertile, but it facilitates to recognize how male factors contribute to infertility.
Conditions which contribute to abnormal semen analysis include:
- Medical conditions like cystic fibrosis, diabetes, trauma due to accident, infection, testicular failure, chemotherapy, radiation.
- Varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin that holds your testicles (scrotum). It can also cause testicles to fail to develop normally or shrink.
- Person consuming heavy alcohol, chain smoker, over use of drug or testosterone supplements.
- Environmental conditions like over exposure to pesticides and lead also contribute change or abnormality in semen analysis.
In male, infertility can be treated by following way:
- Improving lifestyle by doing exercise on regular basis, improving frequency and timing of intercourse, reducing or eliminating alcohol and smoking.
- Certain medications improve the sperm count, testicular function.
- In case of varicocele, surgery may be recommended to improve overall chance of pregnancy.
- Sperm retrieval technique is used when there is problem in ejaculating or the ejaculated fluid does not contain sperm. This technique is used when there is low sperm count too.
In order to get pregnant, women need functioning ovaries, fallopian tubes and a uterus. Any condition affecting any of these organs can result in to infertility in women. First we will take on organ:
- Ovaries – Women with irregular periods will have problem in calculating the ovulation day which is the most fertile time to have a baby. Potential causes of anovulation may be due to women suffering with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (FHA), production of eggs is low from the ovaries, premature menopause.
- Fallopian tubes – Open, blocked or swollen fallopian tubes also cause infertility to some extent.
- Uterus – anatomic abnormalities of uterus, fibroids also can cause infertility in women.
Today in India as well as globally, late marriages are a part of lifestyle which again is one of the growing causes of infertility. Aging not only decrease the chances of having a baby, but also increases the chance of miscarriage. Smoking, excess consumption of alcohol, unhealthy eating habits contributing to weight gain, emotional and physical stress also contribute to infertility in women.
In female, infertility can be treated by following way:
- Fertility drug is given to women who have ovulation disorders. These drugs regulate or induce ovulation.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – in this process, healthy sperms are directly placed in female uterus at the time of ovulation.
- Surgery to restore fertility – hysteroscopy surgery is done to remove endometrial polyps, fibroids, uterine septum or intrauterine scars.
- Assisted reproductive technologies like In-vitro fertilization (IVF), IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) are also used as treatment for infertility which are more cost bearing and to some extent successful leading to pregnancy.
When should you consult a doctor? If you and your partner have crossed 30 and have been trying for a year, talk to your doctor about undergoing fertility testing to discover the cause. Regardless of your age, if anytime you have concerns you should talk to your doctor.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Ravi Shet is the co-writer of this article and Co-founder of www.treatum.com, an online healthcare portal connecting patients with right doctors.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.