The term infertility refers to the abnormal inability to produce a child through natural conception. It also refers to the inability of a woman to go through the entire course of pregnancy. Some couples around the world try hard to have children, but some find it very difficult to do so and therefore require medical assistance to succeed. About a third of people of reproductive age are infertile according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a third of these cases affect women, another third affect men, and 15 percent affect both partners.
Technically, a couple is considered infertile if they are unable to conceive a child within six months of unprotected sexual intercourse (or 12 months if the woman is over 35 years old), according to INCIID (International Council for the Dissemination of Infertility Information). There are many reasons this could happen. These factors can affect either the man or the woman, or both partners.
Causes of Male Infertility
There are several factors that can cause infertility in men. A common cause is a problem with sperm production. Infertile men can produce very few sperm cells or sperm cells that are very weak / immobile. A man can also be affected by underlying diseases or medical conditions such as endocrine problems, diabetes, Kallmann syndrome, hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia, drug and alcohol related problems, which block the production of hormones necessary for sperm production.
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Some men may have problems with their own reproductive organs. Among these conditions include Klinefelter syndrome, testicular trauma, goiter, idiopathic failure, seminoma, varicocele, hydrocele, cryptorchidism, and the like. This condition has a direct effect on the testicles themselves, which are the organs responsible for sperm production.
Some men may be able to produce healthy and abundant sperm cells but have problems releasing them for proper sexual intercourse. They may experience blockages in the vas deferens (the tube that connects the testes to the penis), infections, backward ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and hypospadias. This prevents the successful transfer of sperm to the female reproductive system.
Causes of Female Infertility
Unlike the causes of male infertility, women may have problems with healthy egg production. They may have problems in their ovaries such as polycystic ovary syndrome, luteal dysfunction, reduced ovarian reserve, Turner syndrome, anovulation, ovarian neoplasms and premature menopause, which hinders healthy maturation and proper release of eggs.
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A woman can also be infected by other conditions that affect her reproductive health. Among these conditions include diabetes mellitus, adrenal disease, liver disease, kidney damage, thyroid disorders, and psychological problems. A woman may also have problems with certain glands that produce hormones necessary for reproduction. These include Kallmann syndrome, hypothalamic dysfunction, hypopituitarism, and hyperprolactinemia.
Some problems can also affect the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. Such problems include anti-sperm antibodies, cervical stenosis, and insufficient mucus secretion for sperm to travel. The uterus or womb itself may not be conducive to conceiving a child. There may be uterine malformations, uterine leiomyomas or fibroids, and Asherman’s Syndrome.
Infertility is a difficult problem. Fortunately, the wonders of medical science have resulted in several treatments for male and female infertility. To know more about them, one can consult a fertility clinic, gynecologist or urologist. All Rights Reserved, This Content may be reprinted as long as it remains unchanged and the links are intact and active.