Infertility Overview – What Is Infertility?
Infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), is the inability to produce a child or carry it to term following a year of moderately frequent, unprotected intercourse.
This period applies to couples in which the woman is under the age of 35; for women over that age, the period increases to six months.
A person or couple should seek an evaluation after the time periods mentioned. Age, physical characteristics, or medical history, however, may require an earlier review.
An illness of the female or male reproductive system can cause infertility by impeding conception or the capacity to bear and give birth to a child after becoming pregnant. Infertility affects 10% to 15% of couples on average in the United States.
Infertility in men (approximately a third of instances), in women (about a third of cases), or a combination of male and female factors are the usual causes of infertility. When our doctors are unable to identify the precise cause of infertility, 20% of the cases are classified as unexplained fertility.
Doctors may perform a number of tests to search for factors that frequently damage fertility.
Women Tests. Our doctors start the examination of our female patients with a pelvic exam. In addition to a blood test to check hormone levels, an ultrasound will be used to examine the uterus and ovaries. In order to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open, other examinations, such as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), may be performed. The ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes may occasionally need to undergo small procedures to be inspected for issues.
Male Tests. We will examine the man physically to look for any potential structural anomalies. To find a reason for male infertility, we’ll likely also conduct a semen and sperm study. Blood tests may also be used to check for hormone problems that can make it harder for the male to get his spouse pregnant.
Type of Infertility
Primary. Infertility happens when a woman can’t get pregnant again after having at least one successful pregnancy.
Secondary. A woman who was never pregnant and who can’t conceive after a year of not using birth control.
Cause of Infertility
Infertility can have a variety of different causes. The following are some of those pertaining to female bodies:
• Hormonal irregularities
• Ovary or fallopian tube damage.
• Both endometriosis and fibroids
The following are examples of potential causes involving the bodies of men:
• Hormonal irregularities
• Low sperm counts, sperm that can’t travel well enough, or sperm with an irregular shape are examples of poor sperm quality.
• During ejaculation, blocked vas deferens tubes prevent sperm from leaving the body.
• Erection problems.
Additionally, certain illnesses and infections, as well as genetic, psychological, or environmental variables, can have an impact on fertility. Any of these factors, alone or in combination, may make it challenging to conceive. However, occasionally there is no obvious cause.
Age also has a significant impact on fertility: The older a couple is, particularly the woman, the less probable it is that they will experience a natural pregnancy shortly after beginning to try.
There are several different infertility solutions available. What kind of issue has been identified in the lady or guy will mostly dictate the precise type of treatment. For instance, if the woman has an irregular menstrual cycle, hormones may be administered. She may benefit from surgery if she has fibroids. Surgery or hormone therapy are additional treatment options for some male infertility problems.
Sperm can be sent directly to the woman’s womb if not enough sperm is produced or if the sperm cells don’t travel around enough. Artificial insemination is what is done in this situation. It is also a therapy choice if the couple is unable to engage in sexual activity together or if the sperm cannot pass through the cervical mucous.
In vitro fertilization is one alternative. During this process, eggs from the woman’s ovaries are taken through the vagina using a thin hollow needle before being joined with the man’s sperm.
The lady undergoes hormone therapy to encourage the release of several mature eggs over the course of a single menstrual cycle before the eggs are extracted from her ovaries. The negative effects of this hormone therapy may be extremely unpleasant. The actual fertilization occurs in a lab, away from the woman’s body.
In IVF, sperm cells are introduced to an egg cell, whereupon the egg cell fertilizes itself. One sperm cell is directly inserted into an egg cell using a tiny needle during intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
After a few days, the doctor inserts up to three embryos into the womb if fertilization was successful and the egg cells progressed to the following stage (embryo). The lady can choose whether to have additional egg cells frozen (cryopreserved) or destroyed if they grow into embryos.
This holds true for egg cells that are in the pronuclear stage of development, where the chromosomal sets (genes) in the sperm and egg cells haven’t fully fused together. If the initial effort is unsuccessful, frozen embryos or fertilized egg cells can be defrosted and used in a subsequent menstrual cycle.