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The causes of infertility in women are ovulation disorders, uterus or fallopian tubes, medications, and radiotherapy. The causes of infertility in men are low sperm motility and quality, ejaculation disorders. Factors which increase risk of infertility are age, smoking, and obesity. Infertility treatments are performed as per the requirement.
There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about the decreasing fertility rates in men and the potential issues it can pose. It has been seen that infertility affects one in six men thus, making it a common problem for those of reproductive age. The topic of infertility has always been linked with the woman that is traditionally viewed as 'woman's issue' and hardly any talk about male infertility.
In this article, infertility along with its causes, risks, and treatments helps in awakening about the much-talked topic.
What is Infertility?
For those who are not accustomed to the term, it implies the inability to become pregnant even after regular unprotected sex. It also means the biological inability of the individual to contribute in conception or the female partner who couldn't complete the pregnancy to full term. (1) (2)
Many cases of infertility are treatable. It might have a single cause in any of the partners or it can be combinations of factors.
What are the causes of Infertility in women?
There are many possible reasons for infertility among females. Some of them are:
1- Ovulation Disorders: The most common cause of infertility among women is infertility. In some of the cases, the woman never releases eggs while in other females does not release eggs in some cycles. (3)
It can be due to premature ovarian failure, PCOS, hyperprolactinemia, poor egg quality, underactive thyroid gland, overactive thyroid gland or chronic conditions like HIV or cancer.
2- Issue with the uterus or fallopian tubes: The egg moves to the uterus (where the fertilized egg grows) from the ovary. If a woman has any problem in the uterus or fallopian tubes then there might be chances of unable to conceive. It can be due to pelvic surgery, submucosal fibroids, endometriosis, and earlier sterilization treatment. (4)
3- Medications: Medicines such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or chemotherapy can affect fertility.
4- Radiotherapy:If radiation therapy was done near a woman's reproductive organs then there are chances of fertility issues.
Illegal Drugs: They equally contribute to infertility.
Male Infertility Causes
Below are the common causes of infertility in men (5):
1- Semen: 75% of cases of male’s infertility are due to abnormal semen. It can be due to low sperm count, low sperm mobility, no sperm during ejaculation or abnormal sperm.
2- Causes of abnormal semen could be: The possible causes can be testicular surgery, testicular cancer, and testicular infection. Overheating of testicles in hot tubs, frequent saunas can affect. Ejaculation disorder, due to varicocele, genetic abnormality, hypogonadism, cystic fibrosis, radiotherapy, medications and use of illegal drugs.
What are the risks involved in Infertility?
There are several factors that can increase the risk of infertility in both male and female.
1- Age: Woman after 30 starts dropping fertility and continues to do so. While a 50-year-old man is less fertile than a man in 20. (6)
2- Smoking: Similar to both male and female infertility cause. It can also undermine fertility treatment. (7)
3- Alcohol consumption: A woman has more chances of getting affected if she consumes alcohol. It may lower male fertility but is risky for those men who already have low sperm count. (8)
4- Obesity or overweight: One of the most common causes of female infertility. An obese man has a high risk of having abnormal sperm.
5- Eating disorders
6- Over exercising or not exercising
7- Sexually transmitted infections
8- Exposed to chemicals
9- Mental stress
How to diagnose infertility?
After 12 months of trying, if there is no pregnancy then below are the tests for both men and women to diagnose the real reason of infertility (8):
1- General physical exam
2- Blood test
5- Genetic testing
6- Ovarian reserve testing
7- Pelvic ultrasound
8- Chlamydia test
9- Thyroid function test
1- General physical exam
3- Blood test
4- an Ultrasound test
5- Chlamydia test
Fertility treatments for men are (9):
1- Varicocele- surgical removes of varicose vein.
2- Blockage of the ejaculatory duct- extracting sperm directly from testicles and then injected into an egg in the laboratory.
3- Medications for erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation can help in general sexual issues.
4- Epididymal blockage- Epididmysis can be surgically repaired if blocked.
Fertility treatments for women are:
1- Fallopian tube surgery (10)
2- Laparoscopic surgery
3- Intrauterine insemination
4- IVF technology
5- ICSI i.e. intracytoplasmic sperm injection
6- Drugs for ovulation disorders include- Clomiphene for encouraging ovulation in a woman who doesn't ovulate regularly or who haven't ovulated at all because of PCOS or other issues. Metformin- for those females who didn't respond to Clomiphene. And there are other medicines as well.
Hope this article helped you with your queries on infertility. Follow OVO Fertility blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES:
- ^ What is Infertility? | American Pregnancy Association Americanpregnancy.org, 10 July 2019
- ^ Infertility - Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic Mayoclinic.org, 10 July 2019
- ^ Top Causes of Infertility in Women | Healthy Women Healthywomen.org, 10 July 2019
- ^ Endometriosis and Fallopian Tube Problems | WebMD Webmd.com, 10 July 2019
- ^ Male Infertility - Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic Mayoclinic.org, 10 July 2019
- ^ Risk Factors for Infertility | Cleveland Clinic My.clevelandclinic.org, 10 July 2019
- ^ Smoking | Your Fertility Yourfertility.org.au, 10 July 2019
- ^ How is infertility diagnosed? | NICHD Yourfertility.org.au, 10 July 2019
- ^ Treating Male Infertility | WebMD Webmd.com, 10 July 2019
- ^ Fertility Treatments For Infertility | Planned Parenthood Plannedparenthood.org, 10 July 2019
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