fertility basics

Know about Causes, Risks and Treatment about Infertility

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  • 4.8   (5 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 08 Dec 2017 - Written by Dr. R K Sharma - MD, MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

The causes of infertility in women are ovulation disorders, uterus or fallopian tubes, medications, and radiotherapy. The causes of infertility in men are low sperm motility and quality, ejaculation disorders. Factors which increase risk of infertility are age, smoking, and obesity. Infertility treatments are performed as per the requirement.

There has been a lot of buzz in the recent years about the decreasing fertility rates in men and the potential issues it can pose. It has been seen that infertility affects one in six men thus, making it a common problem for those of reproductive age. The topic of infertility has always been linked with woman that is traditionally viewed as 'woman's issue' and hardly any talk about male infertility.

In this article, infertility along with its causes, risks and treatments helps in awakening about the much-talked topic.

What is Infertility?

For those who are not accustomed to the term, it implies the inability to become pregnant even after regular unprotected sex. It also means the biological inability of individual to contribute in conception or the female partner who couldn't complete the pregnancy to full term.

Many cases of infertility are treatable. It might have single cause in any of the partner or it can be combinations of factors.  

What are the causes of Infertility in women?

There are many possible reasons of infertility amongst females. Some of them are:

1- Ovulation Disorders: The most common cause of infertility among women is infertility. In some of the cases the woman never releases eggs while in other females does not release eggs in some cycles.

It can be due to premature ovarian failure, PCOS, hyperprolactinemia, poor egg quality, underactive thyroid gland, overactive thyroid gland or chronic conditions like HIV or cancer.

2- Issue with uterus or fallopian tubes: The egg moves to uterus (where fertilized egg grows) from ovary. If woman has any problem in uterus or fallopian tubes then there might be chances of unable to conceive. It can be due to pelvic surgery, submucosal fibroids, endometriosis and earlier sterilization treatment.

3- Medications: Medicines such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or chemotherapy can affect the fertility.

4- Radiotherapy:If radiation therapy was done near woman's reproductive organs then there are chances of fertility issues.

Illegal Drugs: They equally contribute in infertility.    
 

Male Infertility Causes

Below are the common causes of infertility in men:

1- Semen: The 75% cases of male’s infertility are due to abnormal semen. It can be due to low sperm count, low sperm mobility, no sperm during ejaculation or abnormal sperm.

2- Causes of abnormal semen could be: The possible causes can be testicular surgery, testicular cancer and testicular infection. Overheating of testicles in hot tubs, frequent saunas can affect. Ejaculation disorder, due to varicocele, genetic abnormality, hypogonadism, cystic fibrosis, radiotherapy, medications and use of illegal drugs.  

What are the risks involved in Infertility?

There are several factors that can increase the risk of infertility in both male and female.

1- Age: Woman after 30 starts dropping fertility and continues to do so. While a 50 year old man is less fertile than a man in 20.

2- Smoking: Similar for both male and female infertility cause. It can also undermine the fertility treatment.

3- Alcohol consumption: A woman has more chances of getting affected if she consumes alcohol. It may lower male fertility but is risky for those men who already have low sperm count.

4- Obesity or overweight: One of the most common causes of female infertility. An obese man has high risk of having abnormal sperm.

5- Eating disorders

6- Over exercising or not exercising

7- Sexually transmitted infections

8- Exposed to chemicals

9- Mental stress

How to diagnose infertility?

After 12 months of trying, if there is no pregnancy then below are the tests for both men and women to diagnose the real reason of infertility:

Women-

1- General physical exam

2- Blood test

3- Hysterosalpingography

4- Laparoscopy

5- Genetic testing

6- Ovarian reserve testing

7- Pelvic ultrasound

8- Chlamydia test

9- Thyroid function test

Men-

1- General physical exam

2- Semen analysis

3- Blood test

4- Ultrasound test

5- Chlamydia test
 

Infertility Treatments

Fertility treatments for men are:

1- Varicocele- surgical removes of varicose vein.

2- Blockage of the ejaculatory duct- extracting sperm directly from testicles and then injected into an egg in laboratory.

3- Medications for erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation can help in general sexual issues.

4- Epididymal blockage- Epididmysis can be surgically repaired if blocked.

Fertility treatments for women are:

1- Fallopian tube surgery

2- Laparoscopic surgery

3- Intrauterine insemination

4- IVF technology

5- ICSI i.e. intracystoplasmic sperm injection

6- Drugs for ovulation disorders include- Clomiphene for encouraging ovulation in woman who don't ovulate regularly or who hasn't ovulated at all because of PCOS or other issue. Metformin- for those females who didn't respond to Clomiphene. And there are other medicines as well.
 

Hope this article helped you with your queries on infertility. Follow Elawoman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Written by

Dr. R K Sharma

MD, MBBS
Reproductive Endocrinologist, Hysteroscopic Surgeon
Delhi

Dr. R K Sharma is ranked among the best infertility specialist and gynecologists in Delhi. He has treated hundreds of infertile patients and has helped many couples achieve their dream of parenthood. He specializes in Embryo Transfer (ET), Intrauterine insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilisation(VF) and Hysteroscopic surgery. He is dedicated to his work and gives his best to achieve success. He is well-versed with the latest technological advancement in medicine. He completed his MBBS from the University of Pune in 1981 and continued to pursue MD in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. He was brilliant in his academics which earned him Membership of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI). He also provides counseling services to couples who are going for IVF for the first time. He performs the treatments with precision and care to improve the chances of success in the first try. Dr. R K Sharma is the founder and director of ART Centre at Army Hospital (R & R) Delhi and Southern Star ART Centre at Command Hospital (SC), Pune. He is presently practicing at Primus Super Specialty Hospital, Chanakyapuri, Delhi.

Primus Super Specialty Hospital is a reliable and affordable multispeciality hospital in Delhi. They are serving patients in different specialties like sports physiotherapy, Diagnostic Laboratory, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Electrocardiogram (ECG), X-ray, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Blood Test, pregnancy care and women wellness. The hospital follows modern methods of treatment to ensure the utmost comfort and care.

 

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

  1. How to choose the best fertility centers  fertility, Elawoman - 2017
  2. Unprotected sex - tips to deal with it, monitoring pregnancy  unprotected sex, Elawoman - 2017
  3. Know all about intrauterine insemination (iui) - when needed, iui cost, iui risks  low sperm, Elawoman - 2017
  4. Most noticeable signs of infertility in women - in menstrual cycle and ovulation  female infertility, Elawoman - 2017
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5 Comments

Joe Avoy

I have copper IUD inside my vagina, is it going to affect my fertility in the future?

Oct. 13, 2018, 9:28 a.m. 5.0

Dharmendra Bill

I neither drink nor smoke but still, my sperm count is low. What should I do to fix this?

Sept. 24, 2018, 11:25 a.m. 4.5

Anshika Pandey

Thanks for sharing the infertility causes and risks in this detailed manner. Many couples will get a lot of help from the information in the blog, thus improving the infertility levels with proper care and precautions.

May 31, 2018, 4:39 p.m. 5.0

Om Vikas

This makes me think twice about not being able to have a baby in a year.

May 25, 2018, 3:52 p.m. 4.5

Benny Corner

It's a logical point to know about fertility either you want to conceive or not. Everyone should read this. Thanks for sharing this Ela.

Dec. 12, 2017, 10:23 a.m. 5.0

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The information displayed on this webpage covers general information on several medical conditions, fertility treatments, IVF ICSI, surrogacy procedure, home remedies, and their respective treatments. The exclusive purpose of the displayed information is for the sake of general understanding and it has been collected from open sources which heavily rely on research and laboratory tests. However, the information shared here should not be considered as a medical advice or an alternative to consultation with a registered medical practitioner or licensed healthcare professional.
It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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