Infertility is the inability to become pregnant after a years worth of trying. And those experiencing repeated miscarriages are also considered infertile as well.
Infertility can result from problems that interfere with:
- fallopian tubes
Early 20s is a woman’s peak fertility period, and for women over 40 the likelihood of getting pregnant lessens dramatically. Female fertility problems known to cause infertility include:
- ovarian cysts
- poor nutrition
- pelvic infection
- uterine fibroids
- athletic training
- eating disorders
- ovulation problems
- tobacco, alcohol use
- multiple miscarriages
- overweight, underweight
- chronic disease ~ diabetes
- clotting, bleeding disorders
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- Familial Mediterranean fever
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- physical problems with uterus
- STD scarring ~ chlamydia, gonorrhea
- health problems causing hormonal imbalance
- anovulatory menstrual cycles ~ no egg release
- irregular periods, very painful menstruation, amenorrhea
- autoimmune disorders ~ antiphospholipid syndrome
- abnormal egg transport ~ causes almost half the cases of infertility
For females, problems with ovulation account for the highest incidences of infertility. No ovulation means no egg for fertilization.
Some indication you may not be ovulating regularly are irregular or no menstrual periods. Here are a couple at home ways you can track or discover if in fact you are ovulating:
- using an ovulation test kit
- observing texture of vaginal discharge ~ clear, slippery just prior to ovulation
- monitor changes in morning body temperature ~ ovulation causes a rise in temperature
About a third of all infertility is due to a male fertility problems. Some things that may reduce sperm number or its quality entail:
- testicular cancer
- low sperm count
- hormone deficiency
- Klinefelter syndrome
- undescended testicle
- retrograde ejaculation
- high levels of prolactin
- underlying health problems
- history of orchitis, epididymitis
- varicocele ~ most common cause
- STD scarring ~ chlamydia, gonorrhea
- marijuana, drug, alcohol, tobacco use
- abnormally shaped or movement of sperm
- daily consumption of soy ~ particularly if obese
- environmental pollutant toxins ~ pesticides, lead
- prescription drugs ~ cimetidine, spironolactone, nitrofurantoin
The number and quality of a man’s sperm can be influenced by overall health and lifestyle.
Most healthy women under 30 should not entertain infertility anxiety until after a year of effort. However, if you are over 30 and have attempted pregnancy for 6 months to no avail, then a complete fertility evaluation is strongly advised. You should schedule an appointment right away because finding the cause and solution for your infertility might take some time.
Choices of male and female infertility treatment consist of medicine, artificial insemination, assisted reproductive technology and surgery.
Intrauterine (artificial) insemination is a type of infertility treatment wherein you are injected with specially prepared sperm. You may also be treated with ovulation stimulating medication prior to the insemination.
Various fertility medicines are often used to treat women with ovulation problems. Some more common ones are:
- Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) ~ causes ovulation by acting on the pituitary gland, taken orally
- Human menopausal gonadotropin (Repronex, Pergonal) ~ used for ovulation due to pituitary gland problems, administered by injection
- Follicle stimulating hormone (Gonal-F, Follistim) ~ causes the ovaries to begin the process of ovulation, injection dispensed
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog ~ used for irregularovulation regularly each month, acting on pituitary gland, injected or nasal spray
- Metformin (Glucophage) ~ lowers high levels of male hormones in women with insulin resistance and/or PCOS conditions, taken by mouth
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel) ~ used for ovulation problems stemming from high levels of prolactin
Many fertility drugs increase a woman’s chance of having twins, triplets or more. It is very important to discuss all the potential risks, benefits and side effects of these drugs with your health care provider.
Assisted reproductive technology, or ART, treatment is used to describe several different methods to assist with fertile problems. ART involves egg removal, mixing it with sperm and putting an embryo back. General methods of ART being:
- In vitro fertilization ~ fertilization outside of the body, often used when fallopian tubes are blocked or low sperm production
- Zygote intrafallopian transfer or Tubal Embryo Transfer ~ similar to In vitro, except embryo is transferred to the fallopian tube
- Gamete intrafallopian transfer ~ transfers egg and sperm into the fallopian tube for fertilization
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection ~ a single sperm is injected into a mature egg outside the womb, used with serious sperm problems, older couples or In vitro failures
ART treatment procedures may involve the use of donor eggs, donor sperm, or previously frozen embryos.
Assisted reproductive technology success rate varies, can be expensive and is time intensive. But it has reaped conception rewards for many with insurmountable fertility problems. The most notable complication with ART is multiple fetuses.
Treatment for male infertility may involve the following:
- surgically remove sperm
- antibiotics ~ infection problems
- impotency, premature ejaculation ~ therapy, medication
- too few sperm ~ sometimes surgery can correct this problem
Problems with a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus can sometimes be corrected with surgery.
Causes of infertility take in a broad realm of physical and emotional factors, some accommodate treatments within your health empowering control. Weight issues, inadequate diet, stress levels and negative lifestyle habits are just a couple of fertile problems you might attempt to conquer before you kick off a quest for pregnancy.