WHAT ARE THE 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, their chances of conception decrease due to a decline in the overall number of eggs and an increase in the number of abnormalities in egg production. The older a woman gets, the lower the quantity and quality of her eggs, which can reduce the chances of successful conception. Generally, between the ages of 25 to 35, women have a greater likelihood of successful conception if they are medically healthy.

b. Hormonal Imbalance: Hormonal balance plays a crucial role in the natural conception process. If a woman’s reproductive hormones are not up to the standard or not functioning properly, it can make conception difficult. Hormonal imbalances can lead to the production of unhealthy eggs from the ovaries, which may result in miscarriage or abnormalities in the child. In such cases, hormonal injections and drugs can be given to correct the imbalances. If the hormonal imbalances are not corrected as expected, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be considered, using an egg donor if the woman’s uterus is still functioning well.

c. Fallopian Tubes Blockage: The fallopian tubes are essential reproductive organs for conception in women. These tubes are where the egg and sperm fertilize before moving to the uterus for conception. If there is a blockage in one of the tubes, there are still chances to conceive. However, if both tubes are blocked, the chances of natural conception decrease. Surgical intervention may be possible to open the blocked tubes, depending on the location of the blockages, but it is not always feasible. The success rate of opening the tubes through surgery is 50/50, and the risks involved may not be encouraging. In cases where both tubes are blocked or cannot be opened through surgery, IVF is the best option to achieve the dream of motherhood.

d. Fibroids: Fibroids are tumors that can grow in the uterus or areas of the uterus. Some fibroids can prevent women from conceiving, while others may not interfere with natural conception, depending on their location. There are different locations where fibroids can grow, such as intramural fibroids (inside the uterine wall), submucosal fibroids (bulging into the uterine cavity), and subserosal fibroids (growing outside the uterus). In cases where fibroids hinder pregnancy, surgery may be the first option before considering IVF to increase the success rate of conception.

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 many small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain. Although PCOS can be managed with hormonal injections and drugs, if the treatment does not yield positive results, IVF can be considered, using an egg donor if the woman’s uterus is functioning well.

f. Untreated Infections: Untreated infections can damage reproductive organs in women, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus. Various tests can be conducted to identify the type of infection and appropriate treatment. If the infection has not caused damage to any reproductive organs, it can be treated accordingly. However, if there is damage, IVF may be necessary to achieve conception.

g. Low Sperm Count (male): Sperm is essential for fertilizing a woman’s egg, and if the sperm count is low or the quality is not sufficient, conception may be challenging. Low sperm count can be treated with drugs, and if necessary, IVF can be performed using a sperm donor.

h. Absence/Damaged/Large/Small Uterus: If awoman has an absent, damaged, large, or small uterus, it can affect her ability to conceive naturally. In such cases, IVF can be performed through a surrogate, where the embryo is implanted into the uterus of another woman who carries the pregnancy on behalf of the intended parents.

i. Unexplained Infertility: Unexplained infertility refers to a situation where all necessary fertility tests have been conducted on a couple, and both partners are found to be medically fit for natural conception. However, despite trying for an extended period with no success, the cause of infertility remains unknown. In such cases, IVF can be considered as a possible solution, since the couple is medically healthy and all other factors have been ruled out.

It’s important to note that each individual’s situation is unique, and the appropriate course of action for infertility may vary. Consulting with a medical professional or fertility specialist is crucial to determine the specific causes of infertility and explore the most suitable treatment options.

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