What is infertility?
Infertility is defined as a woman’s inability to get pregnant (conceive) although having sex regularly without protections. Infertility can also refer to the biological inability of an individual to contribute to conception. A female who fails to carry a pregnancy to full term is considered infertile as well.
Many cases of apparent infertility can be treated. Infertility may be caused by either one of the partners or both of them.
What causes intertility?
Causes of infertility in women
There are many factors that can lead to infertility. However, in one-third of cases the cause is not identified.
Possible causes incluse:
- Ovulation disorders, due to:
- Premature ovarian failure. This is when a woman’s ovaries stop working before she reaches age 40.
- PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). This occurs when the woman’s ovaries do not function properly or her androgen levels are abnormally high.
- This condition is marked by high of levels prolactin. If a woman is not pregnant or breastfeeding but has hyperprolactinemia, her ovulation and fertility can be affected.
- Poor egg quality. Eggs that are damaged or develop genetic abnormalities are not able to sustain a pregnancy. Women at older age have higher risks for this condition.
- Overactive thyroid gland
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Some chronic conditions, such as AIDS or cancer.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh shared that they have identified a gene that controls a crucial process in the formation of healthy fertile eggs.
Researchers believe this breakthrough will help them to better understand how cells divide during reproduction, which in turn will help explain low fertility and sterility.
- Problems in the uterus or fallopian tubes, due to:
- Submucosal fibroids
- Previous sterilization treatment
Certain drugs can affect the fertility of a woman, including:
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Illegal drugs
Causes of infertility in men
Semen problems, including:
- Low sperm count
- No sperm
- Low sperm mobility (motility)
- Abnormal sperm
Causes of abnormal semen may be:
- Testicular infection
- Testicular cancer
- Testicular surgery
- Overheating the testicles
- Ejaculation disorders
- Undescended testicle
- Genetic abnormality Mumps
- Cystic fibrosis
- Some diseases such as anemia, cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, thyroid disease.
- Anabolic steroids
- Illegal drugs
Treatments for infertility
Fertility treatments for men
Erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation: medication and/or behavioral approaches can help improve general sexual problems, possibly leading to improved fertility.
Varicocele: if that man has a varicose vein in the scrotum, doctor can use a surgery to remove it.
Blockage of the ejaculatory duct: the doctor can extract sperm directly from the testicles and inject it to an egg in the lab.
Retrograde ejaculation: the doctor takes sperm directly from the bladder and inject it into an egg in the lab.
Surgery for epididymal blockage: this is to help the ejaculation happen properly.
Fertility treatments for women
Medications for Ovulation disorders
Ovulation disorders in women can be regulated or induced with prescribed fertility drugs, including:
- Clomifene (Clomid, Serophene)
- Metformin (Glucophage)
- Human menopausal gonadotropin, or hMG, (Repronex)
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (Gonal-F, Bravelle)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (Ovidrel, Pregnyl)
- Gn-RH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) analogs
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
Surgical procedures for women
Fallopian tube surgery: this aims to free the blocked ot scarred fallopian tubes, making it easier for eggs to pass through them.
Laparoscopic surgery: in this procedure, the doctor makes a small incision in the woman’s abdomen. The, he will insert a thin, flexible microscope with a light at the end (laparoscope) to her abdomen to look at internal organs, take samples and perform small operations. Laparoscopy can help with endometriosis to remove implants and scar tissue, reducing pain and often aiding fertility.
IUI (intrauterine insemination)
IVF (in vitro fertilization)
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
Donation of sperm or egg
Electric or vibratory stimulation to achieve ejaculation
Surgical sperm aspiration
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 23, 2017 | Last Modified: September 11, 2019