What causes infertility?

October 7, 2016

Infertility is not always a woman’s problem. Among couples that seek medical treatment, 20% conceive before the treatment actually begins and 50% conceive within two years from starting treatment. Studies show that anxiety may be one of the reasons contributing to the fertility problem, so contacting a doctor and counseling helps.

Studies show that in 32% of cases the problems are associated in the male partner and in 32% of cases, the causes are associated with the female partner. 17% of cases relate to both male & female partner and in 19% of cases the reasons are unexplained.

Male infertility is extremely complex to diagnose and cure. It is also tough to recognize at the early stage. Male fertility problems are majorly caused by abnormalities in sperm numbers, movement or shape. This problem can be evaluated by a semen analysis although the causes of many sperm problems is unknown.

Causes could be:

  • Failed vasectomy reversal
  • Blocked ducts: Problems with tubes carrying sperm
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Varicocele: A condition that can lead to decreased sperm production and quality
  • Problems getting an erection or ejaculating
  • Genetic problem or undescended testes in childhood
  • Medical conditions such as infection ,diabetes, trauma, testicular failure or treatment with chemotherapy/radiation
  • Absence of vas deferens

Female infertility: Apart from being easier to understand as in majority of cases, in female infertility the problem is known. Female fertility problems commonly include:

  • Endometriosis: A condition that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow outside it
  • Disorders of ovulation
  • Damage to fallopian tubes
  • Conditions affecting the uterus
  • Polycystic ovarian disease
  • Age: Studies show that female fertility declines sharply after the age of 35
  • Gynaecological problems such as ectopic pregnancy or frequent miscarriage
  • Hormonal problems or medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid or eplapsy
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Recurrent genito-urinary infections

Unexplained infertility: 19% of couples will have no reasonable cause for their infertility, including those experiencing secondary fertility. This happens when a couple goes through all the testing available & everything comes back clear. In the case of unexplained infertility it can be hard to figure out what to do next. Sometimes it could be as simple as a nutritional deficiency, inaccurate timing of sexual intercourse, low cervical mucous, or a pre-existing health issue. In such cases, it is important to cover all the basic and additional testing.

When should couples seek help?

A normal fertile couple in their 20’s have on average a 25% chance of conceiving each month. If you’ve had more than a year of regular unprotected sexual relationship and you haven’t achieved pregnancy, it’s best to seek help. If not, a good strategy is to plan to have sexual relationship during the days the woman is ovulating. The fertile window is the six days that ends on the day of ovulation. Pregnancy is most likely to occur with intercourse within the 3 days before ovulation. (Ovulation occurs around 14 days before the menstrual period is due)

However, it is advisable to seek help early if you experience any of the below factors

  • Women with irregular periods (a sign that ovulation may not be occurring;
  • Women over 35 years of age. (Female age is one of the most important predictors of whether pregnancy will be achieved)
  • Women who have had pelvic surgery or pelvic infection which may have damaged fallopian tubes;
  • Women with known reproductive pathology such as endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, thyroid disorders and genetic conditions
  • Recurrent miscarriages
  • Men who have had genital surgery, infection or significant trauma.
  • If case of the following sperm issues such as poor sperm morphology (abnormally shaped); poor motility (slow-moving); low sperm count; the presence of anti-sperm antibodies; ejaculatory problems or azoospermia (no sperm present); vasectomy

A woman’s ability to conceive a child reduces with age. The younger you are the higher your chances of success. Hence it is advisable to seek medical help at the earliest

Apollo Fertility offers several specialized procedures to investigate infertility in men and women. It is advisable for the both the partners to come for the first visit and get infertility testing. During the first visit, a detailed history and previous reports are reviewed.

Your journey begins with a few blood tests to understand you and your body so that we can personalize your treatment. You will have a full medical history to understand and design the best pathway for you.

*Your options will be explained to you. Less invasive treatments will always be tried first. If unsuccessful, we have the expertise and technology to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

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