Infertility is a common problem seen in both men and women. Infertility is a condition in which the couple is unable to conceive or carry a healthy pregnancy for a set period of time. There are many different factors that are responsible for infertility. Infertility can generally be treated with medication or assisted reproductive techniques.
Types of Infertility
Infertility is classified into two main categories:
- Primary infertility
Primary infertility is a term given to a condition in which the couple is unable to conceive after trying for a year or more after unprotected intercourse.
- Secondary infertility
Secondary infertility is a condition in which the couples who have had children in the past are unable to achieve another pregnancy.
Causes of Infertility
The common cause of male and female infertility includes the following:
- Ovulation problems
Ovulation is a common problem seen in women. Ovulation problem generally starts when your ovaries fail to release a mature egg. Ovulation problem is the common cause of infertility. It is mainly characterized by the symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding and lack of premenstrual symptoms.
Endometriosis is a diseased condition that occurs when the tissues normally found in your uterus lining grows outside the uterus. The tissues mostly grow in the abdomen or pelvic region.
Endometriosis is characterized by the painful periods, unusual spotting and general pelvic pain that can result in infertility.
- Poor egg quality
Poor quality egg production can also lead to fertility problems. Naturally there will be a decline in the egg production after the age of 35. Poor quantity and quality of eggs can decrease the rate of pregnancy and having a baby even after the fertility treatments.
- PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome)
Hormonal imbalance generally results in development of cysts. The small follicles in your ovaries do not develop in to mature follicles and thus develop in the form of cysts in your ovaries leasing to PCOS. Irregular periods, obesity and excessive hair growth are the common symptoms associated with PCOS.
- Tubal factors
Tubal factors generally refer to the problems associated with the fallopian tubes. Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes do not allow the sperm to reach the eggs and thus prevents fertilization.
Tubal problems usually occur due to sexually transmitted diseases and pelvic inflammatory diseases. In few cases previous sterilization surgery also leads to tubal problems.
- Lower sperm count
Low sperm count is a common problem seen in men that can lead to fertility issues. 20 million sperm per ml is considered as a healthy sperm count. Low sperm count is due to many reasons like:
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Poor diet
- Genetic predisposition
- Damage to the reproductive organs
- Poor Sperm health
Poor sperm health generally refers to the problems associated with sperm motility and morphology. Around 25 % of the infertility cases are due to poor sperm health. The cause of low sperm health and low sperm count are often the same. Poor quality of sperm can increase the risk of infertility.
- Anti-sperm antibodies
In few rare cases semen can cause an immune response. This condition is seen in both men and women. Antibodies are usually triggered during the immune response that leading to death of the sperm.
High levels of sperm antibodies in your body can make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg for fertilization. Anti-sperm antibodies can also damage the sperms that survive and able to cause pregnancy, which increases the risk of miscarriage.
- Vas Deferens Blockage
Vas deferens blockage is commonly called as epididymis blockage. Vas deferens is a tube that is responsible for transferring a fertile sperm. Blockage is usually due to varicocele of the testicles and other sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Combination infertility
Combination infertility cases are rare when compared to the other infertility issues. Combination infertility is mainly due to the fertility issues that are diagnosed in both partners. Around 20-30% of the fertility issues are due to combination infertility.
When you get diagnosed with any fertility issue or you observe any symptoms associated with infertility, it is better to consult an infertility specialist for treatment. Infertility can be cured on early diagnosis with medication and treatments like IVF, IUI and ICSI.