Despite common misconceptions, infertility isn’t exclusively a female problem. Infertility is a condition of the male and female reproductive system, defined by the failure to conceive. Visiting infertility clinics help determine infertility causes and find the best treatment options.
Causes of Infertility
Some infertility problems in individuals are present at birth, and others develop later in life. Below are some of the leading causes of infertility.
1. Abnormal Sperm Function or Production
Infertility resulting from abnormal sperm production occurs due to undescended testicles and health problems such as diabetes. Other causes include genetic defects and infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Enlarged veins in the testes also affect the quality of sperm production.
Challenges with sperm delivery result from premature ejaculation and cystic fibrosis, while blockage in the testicles contributes to abnormal sperm production and function.
2. Ovulation Disorders
Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects the release of eggs from the ovaries. Women with ovulation disorder ovulate infrequently and, in other cases, not at all. Ovarian insufficiency and hypothalamic amenorrhea are other common disorders impacting ovulation.
As women get older, the number of eggs they carry in their ovaries decreases. The quality of their eggs also decreases, upping the chance of chromosomal abnormalities. A woman’s peak reproductive years are between the late teen and late 20s. The decline in fertility becomes more rapid once you reach your mid-30s.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue from the uterine lining grows from the outside of the uterus. In some cases, women with endometriosis do not experience painful symptoms. Experts make the diagnosis in such women during a surgical procedure.
Endometriosis results in a build-up of scar tissues along the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This hinders the transfer of eggs to the fallopian tube. In the worst cases, the condition leads to endometrial cysts. The cysts grow inside the ovaries, preventing the ovum’s release or collection into the fallopian tubes.
5. Use of Drugs
Tobacco and cigarettes negatively impact male fertility by reducing semen quality. Excessive alcohol consumption harms the liver, which lowers testosterone production. Alcohol consumption also shrinks the testicles causing difficulties in sperm mobility and erection.
Cigarettes also interfere with ovulation. Consumption of alcohol damages the eggs making them prone to genetic defects that lead to miscarriage.
Common Infertility Treatment Options
Fertility treatment options depend on the cause and the available solutions. Infertility treatment involves physical, financial, time, and psychological commitments. The following infertility treatment options are available to choose.
Fertility medicines are the primary treatment for women with infertility problems due to ovulation disorders. Medications induce or regulate ovulation.
A medication called Clomifene, for example, encourages monthly ovulation in women. Medical experts use it on women who fail to ovulate regularly. Gonadotrophin help stimulate women’s ovulation and improve fertility in men. Talk with your doctor about the various fertility drugs and their benefits.
With hysteroscopic surgery, you can treat uterine problems such as endometrial polyps, intrauterine scar tissue, and uterine septum. Pelvic adhesions, endometriosis, and larger fibroids require laparoscopic surgery.
In men, surgery may reverse sperm blockage and restore fertility. Surgically repairing a varicocele helps improve overall chances of fertility.
Sperm retrieval is a technique that obtains sperms when ejaculation is challenging or when no sperms are present in the ejaculated fluid. When sperm counts are low or abnormal, you can use this method.
Consider simple lifestyle changes that help improve the chances of conception. The goal should be to create the healthiest environment for pregnancy. For both men and women, the best help for natural fertility includes:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Choosing healthy foods
- Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and cigarettes
If you’re wanting to solve your infertility problems, consult a professional to help identify some lifestyle changes that can help improve your fertility.
Infertility for Intersex People
People who are intersex may struggle with infertility. Because of variations in genitals, reproductive organs, and/or chromosomes, intersex people can struggle to get pregnant or get someone pregnant. But if you are intersex, know that just being intersex does not automatically mean you are infertile.
Despite what the exterior genitals look like, if you have a uterus, it may be possible to carry a child to term. Hormone therapy may be required. Or if you have ovaries but no uterus, another option is to retrieve the eggs and do a procedure like IVF.
Some intersex people produce sperm in testes but cannot ejaculate or do it well enough to produce sperm. In this case, IVF is an option or possibly surgery with a urologist.
Intersex people can also have both ovaries and testes. It may still be possible to get pregnant if you have a uterus as well. In some cases, testes may produce too much testosterone, making the body not optimal for pregnancy. One option is to remove testicular tissue. Another option is hormone therapy.
If you are intersex and are interested learning about your pregnancy options, talk to the professionals at an infertility clinic. They can explain the risks and likelihood of successful pregnancy.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health & Infertility
Unfortunately, there is stigma surrounding infertility. And it is especially targeted towards women. Infertility can cause depression and anxiety in women as much as cancer, HIV, and heart disease. It is very important to keep in mind that infertility is not a sign of personal failure. You do not need to feel shame because of your infertility.
People who struggle with infertility should talk to their doctors about their mental health issues. A fertility specialist will understand and give resources to help you. Reaching out to a therapist or mental health professional is a great way to deal with depression and anxiety.
Being open and honest about your struggles will allow your medical team and support system to treat you and support you in the best way possible. You have many people on your side, so don’t feel discouraged.
Learn More From Infertility Clinics
Take time to research the best infertility clinic. Don’t settle for the first professional that picks up your call. Fertility testing and treatment are huge steps that need excellent medical skills. The best infertility clinic is one that gives you effective treatment, transparent pricing, compassionate staff, exceptional emotional support, and a seamless administrative process. Since there are several infertility clinics, consider their certifications, reputation, and location to identify the best quality service.