Medically speaking, infertility is identified as the inability for a male and a female partner to reproduce or procreate (get pregnant) after regularly having practiced unprotected intercourse for a minimum period of twelve months. The infertility may be attributed to the male partner, the female partner or to the two of them who are equally likely to have fertility problems. In roughly twenty percent of known infertile couples, both are infertile and around fifteen percent of the known infertile couples are stated to have “unexplained infertility” as no cause is ever conclusively established.
It is important to note that infertility is not synonymous to sterility. As a matter of fact, approximately fifteen percent of all heterosexual couples are infertile while only one or two percent of them are actually sterile. Statistics show that fifty percent of couples who reach out for medical help sooner or later have children either on their own or with the help of a number of medical options.
To determine infertility, its extent and to draw plans of action to overcome it, comprehensive medical evaluations need to be performed. The process usually begins with complete physical examinations as well as the assessment of the medical and sexual histories of both partners.
The Female Partner. In women, ovulation is assessed through blood tests which detect the presence of hormones, through ultrasound examinations of the ovaries or through ovulation tests. Irregular menstrual cycles may arouse suspicion but that does not necessarily lead to the cause of the problem.
Infertility in Women
The six main reasons for women’s infertility are:
- The lack of ovulation (also known as anovulation) which is the ejection of eggs from the ovaries. This is usually due to the polycystic ovary disease (PCOS). Anovulation is the most common reason for women’s infertility.
- The failure of the fallopian tubes to transport eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This condition is most often caused by scar tissue resulting from an infections or endometriosis which leads to blockage of the passage.
- Fibroid growths, tumors, cervical problems or an irregularly shaped uterus may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus.
- The mucus of the cervix injures the sperm or stops their movement.
- Advance age.
The Male Partner. Men go through an analysis of their semen for a sperm count as well as the sperm’s movement to verify whether they are sluggish or wandering and at what percentage. Thus far, scientists do not know all the reasons for infertility in men but recent studies show that a large percentage may be linked to genetics and the abnormality of the Y chromosomes.
Infertility in Men
The most frequently occurring reasons for infertility in men are related to sperm disorders but some are related to injuries of the testicles:
- Low sperm count. There may not be enough sperms or there are no spermatozoa present in the semen
- Low sperm motility. The sperm move too slowly or inefficiently.
- Malformation of the sperm.
- 4Blocked sperm ducts.
- Overheated testicles.
- Testicles exposed to chemicals.
- Effects of alcohol and/or tobacco.
- 8Advanced age.
Depending on the source of the infertility (the male partner or the female partner) and the cause of the problem, there is a wide range of very effective options which can rectify infertility and those may be hormonal treatments and various medications, surgery and in vitro fertilization. However, none of these options are accessible without appropriate medical teams of professionals.