Infertility refers to an inability to conceive after having regular unprotected sex. Infertility can also refer to the biological inability of an individual to contribute to conception, or to a female who cannot carry a pregnancy to full term. In many countries infertility refers to a couple that has failed to conceive after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraception.
Studies indicate that slightly over half of all cases of infertility are a result of female conditions, while the rest are caused by either sperm disorders or unidentified factors.
Most infertility results from physical problem in either man or woman’s reproductive system.Some causes includes
Problems with man’s reproductive system
Problem with woman’s fallopian tubes
Problem with woman’s uterus and / or cervix
Problems with woman’s ovulation.
Infertility in a woman may stem from many causes, such as hormonal imbalance, problem in reproductive system, illness or unknown factors. The most likely causes for female infertility are
- Pelvic Inflammatory disease [PID]
PID is the most common cause for infertility. It is an infection of the pelvis. One or more of the reproductive organs , like ovaries and / or tubes, cervix or uterus are infected.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS]
In PCO, the ovaries produce high amounts of male hormones especially testosterone. LH hormone level remain abnormally high while FSH levels are low, thus the follicles do not produce eggs. Instead they form fluid – filled cysts that eventually cover the ovaries.
• Endometriosis refers to a condition in which sections of the uterine lining implant in the vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes or pelvis . These implants eventually form cysts that grow with each menstrual cycle, and may eventually turn into blisters and scars. The scars can then block the passage of the egg.Ovarian problems :-
Problems within the ovaries may inhibit reproduction
• Hormonal problems :-
Decreased production of any one of the five hormones that regulate a woman’s reproductive cycle may result in infertility.
Thyroid deficiency may cause ovarian problems.
High prolactin level can also prevent ovulation.
• Immune system Problem
Woman may develop antibodies that attack the man’s sperm, mistaking it for a toxic invader. Certain autoimmune diseases, in which the immune cells attack normal cells in her own body, may also contribute to the ovarian problems
• Luteal Phase Defect [LPD] in LPD, corpusluteum, the mound of yellow tissue produced from the egg follicle – may fail to produce enough progesterone to thicken the uterine lining. Then the fertilized egg may be unable to implant.Fibroids :-
Fibroids or benign growths, may form in the uterus near the fallopian tubes or cervix. As a result, the sperm or fertilized egg cannot reach the uterus or implant there.
• OtherUterine Problems :- Abnormal reproductive organs or endometritis [an abnormal swelling of the uterine lining] may take it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant.
• Surgical Complications Scar tissue left after abdominal surgery can cause problems in the movements of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus, resulting in infertility.
• Frequent abortions :- Frequent abortions may also produce infertility by weakening the cervix or by leaving the scar tissue that obstructs the uterus.
• Uterinemuscle problems :- During ovulation , uterine contraction usually push the sperm up to the fallopian tube, weak , infrequent or abnormal contraction causes problem.
• Poor quality cervical mucous :- some times a cervical mucous fails to thin around the time of ovulation & consequently it prevents the sperm from travelling through it.
• Illness :- Long illness may also cause infertility. High blood sugar level or high blood pressure can also be a cause. Some other contributors to infertility includes excessive exercise, obesity, stress or anorexia.
The most common cause for male infertility is a problem with sperm production. Sperm with poor quality cannot move rapidly enough or in the right direction. Some conditions that may contribute to sperm problems include
Under developed testes
• Swollen – veins in the scrotum
• Undescended tests
• Problems in ejaculation
• Exposure to metals
• Certain medications
• Injury to testicles
• Chronic prostate infections
• Deficiency of testosterone.
• Auto immunity – in which antibodies of the man’s immune system attack sperm cells, mistaking them for toxic invaders. The antibodies attach themselves to the sperm and may cause them to stick together, or may stop them from penetrating the cervical mucous or the egg.
• Retrograde Ejaculation – In this condition the muscles of the urethra do not force the sperm out. Instead , the sperm travel backward into blad