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Mon Jul 08 2019


When a couple is trying to conceive and is not successful, the first question that comes into one’s mind is why? What could be the reasons for not being able to get pregnant? You may wonder, is it you or your partner who needs to go to the doctor? But before that, take a few minutes to learn what infertility means and what can be its causes. Then talk to a doctor to find out what could be the next step.

What is infertility?

Infertility is when a couple cannot conceive despite having unprotected sex for one year. There are two types of infertility:

  • Primary Infertility:      When someone has never been pregnant and is having a problem in conceiving.

  • Secondary Infertility:  When someone had a pregnancy in the past and is having a problem in conceiving.

What are the causes of infertility

Infertility is not only a woman's problem or just related to age. A lot of other things also lead to infertility like genetic disorder, any contact with certain chemicals or problem with sperm and it affects people of all sexes and ages. This is the reason, both the partners are examined when you go to a doctor for infertility tests.

What can be the causes of male infertility?

Historically, infertility has been considered as a women’s problem. However, now we know that up to 1/3rd of the cases involves male infertility. The most common reasons for infertility in men are:

  • Abnormal sperm production

This means that men produce very few or no sperm in the semen due to various reasons like diabetes or infections like HIV, gonorrhoea, mumps, enlarged veins etc.

  • An absence of vas deferens
    This is the case when the tube which transfers sperm to the penis for ejaculation is absent from birth. Therefore, men with such conditions produce sperm in the testes.

  • Overexposure to some specific environmental factors
    Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana or taking certain medications, such as antibiotics, antihypertensives, anabolic steroids or others, can also affect fertility. Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can raise the core div temperature and may affect sperm production.

  • Previous vasectomy: Men who have undergone vasectomy should reverse their process to be able to conceive again.

What can be the causes of female infertility?

There are many possible factors which can contribute to female infertility and some women may face multiple problems at the same time.

  • Ovulation disorder/menstruation problem
    In a normal ovulation cycle, women ovulate after every 21-35 days. If the menstruation cycle is irregular, this means that the woman is not ovulating eggs properly and ovulation of eggs is very important for the pregnancy.

  • Damage of fallopian tube
    Problem in the fallopian tube or uterus prevents the eggs to travel from the ovary to the womb. So, if the egg does not reach the womb, it becomes hard to conceive. Damage in the fallopian tube can be due to cervical surgery or any tumours in the fallopian tube.

  • Cholesterol
    High cholesterol level in women may also lead to infertility.

  • Medication, treatments and drugs
    Long term use of aspirin, chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy near the reproductive organs may increase the risk of infertility.

  • Endometriosis
    It is a painful disorder when the tissue, endometrium which generally grows inside the lining of the uterus, grows outside the uterus. This damages the fallopian tube.

Risk factors for men and women

There are some risk factors for both men and women for infertility problems. They are as follows:

  • Use of alcohol and tobacco
    Smoking and consuming alcohol increases the chances of infertility for both men and women. It may also affect fertility treatment. Passive smoking may result in lower fertility.

  • Age
    The ability to conceive decreases in women in her 30’s and it drops rapidly after the age of 37. Men over the age of 40 become less fertile than younger men. 

  • Underweight and Overweight
    A woman may have the chances of infertility due to an unhealthy eating disorder and a man’s sperm count could be affected due to an inactive lifestyle.

  • Exercise issues
    Insufficient exercise contributes to obesity, which may lead to infertility. Moreover, intense exercises may also lead to fertility issues.

It is important to know that infertility is common these days and you are not alone. Infertility affects one out of six men and women. Infertility does not mean that you can never have a child. Half of the couples who become parents have a child themselves or by medical help. There are many ways to treat infertility and have a healthy pregnancy and child.

What causes of infertility can IVF Treat?

If you are diagnosed with infertility, IVF may be an option with the following cases:

  • Endometriosis

  • Low sperm counts

  • Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes

  • Antidiv problems that harm sperm or eggs

  • Problems with ovulation

  • The inability of sperm to survive in the cervical mucus

  • An unexplained fertility problem

IVF is never the very first option for infertility. However, it the first step in cases of complete tubal blockage and the above cases.

If you think that IVF might be the right step for you, carefully choose the right doctor and get little knowledge before undergoing the procedure.

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