ABSTRACT – It happens when a woman is unable to conceive even after several months of regular sexual intercourse...
Infertility happens when a couple cannot conceive after having regular unprotected sex.
Infertility may be that one partner cannot contribute to conception, or that a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term. It is often defined as not conceiving after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control.
In the United States, around 10 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years are estimated to have difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant. Worldwide, 8 to 12 percent of couples experience fertility problems. Between 45 and 50 percent of cases are thought to stem from factors that affect the man.
Treatment is often available.
Causes in men
The following are common causes of infertility in men.
Semen and sperm
Sperm and egg
Sometimes the sperm cannot travel effectively to meet the egg.
Semen is the milky fluid that a man’s penis releases during orgasm. Semen consists of fluid and sperm. The fluid comes from the prostate gland, the seminal vesicle, and other sex glands.
The sperm is produced in the testicles.
When a man ejaculates and releases semen through the penis, the seminal fluid, or semen, helps transport the sperm toward the egg.
The following problems are possible:
Low sperm count: The man ejaculates a low number of sperm. A sperm count of under 15 million is considered low. Around one third of couples have difficulty conceiving due to a low sperm count.
Low sperm mobility (motility): The sperm cannot “swim” as well as they should to reach the egg.
Abnormal sperm: The sperm may have an unusual shape, making it harder to move and fertilize an egg.
If the sperm do not have the right shape, or they cannot travel rapidly and accurately towards the egg, conception may be difficult. Up to 2 percent of men are thought to have suboptimal sperm.
Abnormal semen may not be able to carry the sperm effectively.
This can result from:
A medical condition: This could be a testicular infection, cancer, or surgery.
Overheated testicles: Causes include an undescended testicle, a varicocele, or varicose vein in the scrotum, the use of saunas or hot tubs, wearing tight clothes, and working in hot environments.
Ejaculation disorders: If the ejaculatory ducts are blocked, semen may be ejaculated into the bladder
Hormonal imbalance: Hypogonadism, for example, can lead to a testosterone deficiency.
Causes in women
Infertility in women can also have a range of causes.
Risk factors that increase the risk include:
A young woman smoking
Smoking significantly increases your risk of infertility
Age: The ability to conceive starts to fall around the age of 32 years.
Smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women, and it may undermine the effects of fertility treatment. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of pregnancy loss. Passive smoking has also been linked to lower fertility.
Alcohol: Any amount of alcohol consumption can affect the chances of conceiving.
Being obese or overweight: This can increase the risk of infertility in women as well as men.
Eating disorders: If an eating disorder leads to serious weight loss, fertility problems may arise.
Diet: A lack of folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12 can affect fertility. Women who are at risk, including those on a vegan diet, should ask the doctor about supplements.
Exercise: Both too much and too little exercise can lead to fertility problems.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes in a woman and cause inflammation in a man’s scrotum. Some other STIs may also cause infertility.
Exposure to some chemicals: Some pesticides, herbicides, metals, such as lead, and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both men and women. A mouse study has suggested that ingredients in some household detergents may reduce fertility.
Mental stress: This may affect female ovulation and male sperm production and can lead to reduced sexual activity.
Medications, treatments, and drugs
Some drugs can affect fertility in a woman.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Long-term use of aspirin or ibuprofen may make it harder to conceive.
Chemotherapy: Some chemotherapy drugs can result in ovarian failure. In some cases, this may be permanent.
Radiation therapy: If this is aimed near the reproductive organs, it can increase the risk of fertility problems.
Illegal drugs: Some women who use marijuana or cocaine may have fertility problems.