Infertility means that a person is not able to get pregnant for at least a year although having unprotected, regular intercourse with the partner.
Infertility can occur in either partner, due to a single or combination of factors and causes. A variety of factors may prevent pregnancy from occurring or continuing.
Luckily, there are a lot of effective and safe treatments that considerably increase the chances to become pregnant and help the couples to overcome this condition.
Pregnancy is usually achieved within the first six months of the period the couple started trying. Generally, most of the couples achieve to conceive after trying for a year, and the others eventually conceive with or without treatment.
The key sign of infertility is the definition of the condition itself-the couple’s inability to get pregnant. Sometimes, there aren’t any other accompanying symptoms along this chief sign.
However, an infertile woman can have irregular menstrual periods or not have them at all, whereas the infertile man can have hormonal problem symptoms as changed hair growth, lack of sexual desire and ejaculation, as well as small testicles or swelling in the scrotum.
If the couple has been trying to get pregnant for at least a year and the process hasn’t been successful, they should consider visiting a doctor. The woman should consider visiting the doctor even earlier, especially if she: is 35 to 40 years old or over 40; hasn’t got regular menstrual periods or hasn’t got them at all; know fertility problems; has been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease; has more than one miscarriage; and had cancer treatment previously. The man, on the other hand should visit the doctor if he: has sperm problems as low sperm count; has scrotum swelling; had vasectomy previously; had inguinal surgery; had cancer treatments before; or simply desires to know his fertility status.
Infertility problems can be congenital or appear along the way and result in infertility. It is a complex process to become pregnant. Everything has to work properly. The ovulating process as well as the fertilization process should work just right.
The reasons for infertility can involve only the male, only the woman or both partners.
Causes for male infertility may be:
- Abnormal sperm production or function (because of: genetic defects, undescended testicles, diabetes, prior infections such as mumps, trauma, previous inguinal surgeries and similar).
- Problematic sperm delivery (because of sexual problems as premature ejaculation, retrograde ejaculation, certain genetic diseases as cystic fibrosis, structural problems as epididymis, injury to the reproductive organs)
- Great exposure to certain chemicals and toxins (such as: pesticides, radiation, tobacco smoke, alcohol, marijuana and steroids, as well as repeated exposure to heat in saunas and hot tubs)
- Cancer related damage (radiation or chemotherapy)
Causes for female infertility may be:
- Ovulation disorders ( such as polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, as well as some simple causes such as excessive exercise, eating disorder, injuries or tumors will prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs)
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities (problematic cervix opening, abnormalities of the shape or cavity of the uterus, benign tumors)
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage (that results from inflammation of the fallopian tube that is usually cause by sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis or adhesions)
- Pelvic adhesions
- Early menopause
- Problems with the thyroid
- Cancer and the treatment
- Medical conditions (relating delayed puberty, the absence of menstruation, diabetes, kidney disease, sickle cell disease)
- Some medications (usually fertility is restored when the woman has done taking the medicine)
A lot of the risk factors are the same for both women and men:
- Fertility decline because of the age (mid-30s for women, and over 40 for men)
- Usage of tobacco and alcohol
- Obesity, anorexia or bulimia and women that are on a restrictive diet with very low level of calories.
- Lack of exercise or excessive exercising
Unfortunately, some kinds of infertility cannot be prevented. Anyway, several measures that can augment the chance of getting pregnant are recommendable:
- Couples should have regular intercourse in the ovulating period
- Men should avoid tobacco and alcohol consumption, high temperatures, exposure to industrial or environmental toxins, limit medicine that affect infertility, stay fit by maintaining the weight, exercise regularly and go on a balanced diet
- Women should avoid becoming overweighed or underweighted, exercise moderately, quit smoking, avoid alcohol and drugs, limit medications that can impact infertility and limit caffeine intake.