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infertility patient consulting with fertiltiy doctor

What is infertility?

Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after 12 or more months of regular, unprotected intercourse or after 6 months if the woman is over 35. Men and women who can’t get pregnant or take a pregnancy to term are both considered infertile. 

Infertility in men and women can be caused or made worse by health problems, lifestyle changes, age, genes, and other issues. Some of the major causes of infertility in men and women are given below.

Statistics for the cause of infertility

If you feel you are infertile, the sooner you seek help from your fertility doctor, the more likely you are to succeed in treating it and getting pregnant. Suppose you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant but haven’t been able to. In that case, you should see a fertility expert as soon as possible. This means that both partners need to be reviewed at the same time.

Causes of male and female infertility

Before storing semen, it is important to do screening tests like semen culture, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV (AIDS) to reduce the chance of viral contamination.
At PFRC, we test the semen of all men who opt for semen freezing to prevent any illness from passing to the next generation.

In some cases, men and women have the same causes of infertility

Causes of male-factor infertility

Hormonal changes

FSH, LH, TSH, Prolactin, and Testosterone are the hormones that control the production of sperm and also affect a man's ability to be sexually active. Any changes to it will affect the number of sperm, their motility, and function.

Varicocele

It is a disease in which veins in the scrotum become swollen. Because of this, the scrotum's base temperature goes up, which affects the production of sperm. This condition can be surgically treat.

History of smoking and alcohol

Smoking and alcohol can change how the sperm work. It takes 75 days for a sperm to grow up fully. So anything bad that happens in those two months can change how sperm works.

Trauma & illnesses

History of mumps, chicken pox, or measles as a kid and history of trauma to scrotum, hernia or hydrocele surgery, etc.

Medical conditions

Long-term diabetes, low thyroid levels, and high prolactin levels can affect male fertility.

Blockage

Blockage in the path between the testicle and the external genitalia, which can be told apart by hormones and a scan.

Overheating

Working on laptops with them on the lap. Laptops give off heat and light, both of which are bad for the sperm.

Causes of female-factor infertility

Some common factors affecting female fertility can be separated into the following groups.

Group 1: Hormonal changes

Hormones like FSH, LH, Prolactin, and TSH that are produced by the pituitary glands and any changes in their levels can influence ovulation, endometrial receptivity, and embryo implantation.

Group 2: Ovarian factors

Some of the ovary-related issues that can affect female fertility are

Group 3: Tubal factors
In cases of natural fertilization, the sperm fertilizes the eggs in the fallopian tubes that are present on both sides of the uterus. The fertilized egg then gets implanted in the uterine lining.
For natural pregnancy to happen, at least one fallopian tube should be in good condition. These fallopian tubes can be blocked due to an infection (pelvic inflammatory disease) or by scar tissue around the tube, as in endometriosis or pelvic tuberculosis. This keeps the tube from moving easily and picking up the eggs from the ovary.
Group 4: Uterine factors

Some common issues in the uterus that can affect female fertility are

It happens when the uterus is infected with tuberculosis or when the inner layer of the uterus, called the uterine lining, is thin and sticks to itself. This can happen when the woman has had multiple D&C (Dilation & Curettage) procedures. So there is no room for the baby to grow inside the uterus.

Septate uterus: The uterus is generally made when two Mullerian ducts (genital precursors) from both sides fuse together, and the middle septum is reabsorbed. If this doesn’t happen completely, it can result in a septate or sub-septate uterus. This septum can stop embryos from implanting and also leads to abortions.

How age affects fertility

People are putting off having kids longer than ever before. Eight times as many women have their first child after the age of 35 as they did in 1970. But problems can happen if you wait too long to get children. As people get older, their chances of being unable to have children rise.
Even for fertility treatments like IVF and IUI, the younger the couple, the higher their chances of getting pregnant and having a child. This is because the quality of the eggs and sperm decreases as age passes.
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