Getting pregnant and carrying the pregnancy to term is a complicated process. There are many things that could go wrong, starting with infertility. It is the condition in which your attempt to get pregnant with frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year does not become successful.
Nearly 1 in 7 couples are infertile. This can be due to female infertility or male infertility or it can even be a combination of both. Sometimes, the causes of fertility are even unknown.
Female infertility is not very easy to diagnose. This is because there are many things that could go wrong before, during, and after fertilization. Here are some of the types of infertility in females.
Ovulation disorders are caused by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland or problems in your ovaries. Ovulating infrequently or not at all is the reason for most cases of infertility. Let’s look at some of them
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a condition that is usually seen in a woman’s reproductive years. It causes a hormonal imbalance, which in turn affects ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. It is associated with insulin resistance, obesity, abnormal hair growth on the face, body or acne.
- Hyperprolactinemia: It is a condition in which the pituitary gland causes excess prolactin production. It reduces the estrogen production and can cause infertility. The condition could also be a side effect of some medications.
- Hypothalamic dysfunction: The pituitary gland produces hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Two hormones – follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) – are responsible for ovulation each month. The disruption of these hormones affect ovulation.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: Caused by an autoimmune response or by premature loss of eggs from your ovary, this condition prevents your ovaries from producing the typical amount of hormones estrogen or releasing eggs regularly. It is also commonly called premature ovarian failure. The main causes of this condition are genetics and chemotherapy.
Damage to fallopian tubes (tubal infertility)
Tubal infertility can keep sperm from getting to the egg or block the fertilized egg from entering into the uterus. Fallopian tubes can be damaged due to pelvic inflammatory diseases due to sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea etc. It can also be caused by previous surgeries of the abdomen or pelvis like the one for ectopic pregnancy etc.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when a tissue that typically grows in the uterus implants and grows in other places. This growth, and the surgical removal of it, can cause scarring which blocks fallopian tubes and keeps the egg and sperm from uniting. The condition can also disrupt implantation of fertilized eggs
Uterine or cervical causes
There are many uterine and cervical causes that can interfere with egg implanting or increase the risk of miscarriage. It can be due benign polyps or tumors tha block the fallopian tubes. Some women are even born with problems in the uterus like unusual shaped uterus, that can cause problems from becoming pregnant. Cervical causes for infertility in women also include cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the cervix. This can be an inherited condition or caused due to damage to the cervix. Sometimes the issue can be that the cervix can’t produce mucus to allow the sperm to travel through the cervix into the uterus. In other cases, infertility in women remains unexplained.
Infertility treatments in females
Treatment for infertility in women depends on cause, age, how long you have been infertile and personal preference. But all of them include significant financial, physical, psychological and time commitments. The treatments include medication, surgery, and other sophisticated techniques like IVF etc.
Causes of infertility in males include low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or any blocks that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health issues, lifestyle choices, etc., are some of the things that contribute to male infertility.
Types of infertility in men
Male infertility can be caused due to a number of health issues and medical treatments. The most common cause of infertility in men is varicocele, a swelling of the veins that drains the testicle. It can lead to reduced sperm quality and quantity. It can be due to an infection like gonorrhea or HIV. Other causes include
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Anti – sperm antibodies
- Undescended testicles
- Hormonal imbalances
- Defects of tubules that transport sperm.
- Chromosome defects
- Problems with sexual intercourse
- Celiac disease
- Certain medications
- Prior surgeries
Overexposure to certain environmental elements like industrial chemicals, heavy metals, radiations, X-rays, increased temperature of the scrotum etc. can cause infertility in males.
There are also health, lifestyle and other causes that include the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and weight.
Infertility treatments for males
In men, infertility is treated through surgery, antibiotic treatment, treatment and therapy for counseling, hormone treatment and medication, or Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
In case you are trying to get pregnant and are not able to, you can visit an obstetrics and gynecology hospital for help from professionals.