Causes of Infertility

Infertility is defined as inability to conceive a child after trying for one year (or six months for women over the age of 35) or inability to carry a pregnancy to term. There are various factors that can contribute to infertility in both men and women. Some of the common causes of infertility include:

a. Age: As women grow older, the chances of conception decrease due to a lower overall number of eggs and an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities and other health conditions. Younger women, typically between the ages of 25 and 35, have healthier eggs and greater chances of successful conception, assuming they are medically healthy.

b. Hormonal Imbalance: Hormonal balance is crucial for natural conception. If a woman’s reproductive hormones are not up to standard or not sufficient, it may be difficult for her to conceive naturally. Unhealthy eggs produced from her ovaries could lead to miscarriage or abnormalities in a child. Hormonal injections and drugs can be administered to correct the imbalances. If these treatments are not effective, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be considered, potentially utilizing an egg donor if the woman’s uterus is still functioning properly.

c. Fallopian Tubes Blockage: The fallopian tubes play a vital role in conception, as they are responsible for fertilization before the embryo moves into the uterus. An HSG test can determine if the tubes are blocked. In cases where one tube is blocked, there are still chances of conception. However, if both tubes are blocked, surgical intervention may be necessary, although the success rate is not guaranteed. IVF is the recommended option for achieving motherhood in such situations.

d. Fibroids: Fibroids are tumors that can grow in the uterus or surrounding areas. While some fibroids may prevent women from conceiving, others may allow for natural conception depending on their location. Surgical removal may be the first option for fibroids that hinder pregnancy, before considering IVF for improved conception rates.

 

e. PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone problem among women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS may experience irregular ovulation, high levels of androgens, and the presence of small cysts on the ovaries. It can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain. PCOS can be managed with hormonal injections and drugs, but if treatment is unsuccessful, IVF using an egg donor may be an alternative if the uterus is functioning properly.

f. Untreated Infections: Untreated infections can potentially damage reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. A series of tests can be conducted to determine the type of infection and appropriate treatment. If any part of the reproductive organs is damaged, IVF may be recommended.

g. Low Sperm Count (male): Sperm is essential for fertilizing a woman’s egg, and if the sperm count is low or of poor quality, conception may not occur. Low sperm count can be treated with medication, but IVF using a sperm donor can also be considered.

h. Absence/Damaged/Large/Small Uterus: In cases where a woman’s uterus is absent, damaged, or abnormally sized, IVF can be performed using a surrogate.

i. Unexplained Infertility: Unexplained infertility refers to a situation where all necessary fertility tests have been conducted on a couple, and they have been deemed medically fit to conceive naturally. However, they have been unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy despite trying for an extended period. In such cases, IVF can be pursued since the couple is medically healthy.

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