Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. Or, six months, if a woman is 35 or older. Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. For some couples, infertility problems can be present from birth (congenital) or something can go wrong along the way that results in infertility. The reason of infertility can be because of either partners. About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women's problems and one third of fertility problems are due to the man. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by unknown problems.
If a couple decides to go for consultation of medical experts then first thing is to fix up an appointment with infertility specialist. Many infertility problems can be pinpointed by the infertility specialist and the vast majority cases can be treated.
Many cases of apparent infertility are treatable. Infertility may have a single cause in one of the partners, or it could be the result of a combination of factors. The following article outlines the most common causes attributed to the term infertility.
1: Womb and fallopian tubes
The fallopian tubes are the tubes along which an egg travels from the ovary to the womb. The egg is fertilised as it travels down the fallopian tubes. When it reaches the womb, it is implanted into the womb's lining where it continues to grow. If the womb or the fallopian tubes are damaged, or stop working, it may be difficult to conceive naturally. This can occur following a number of factors which include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, and previous sterilisation surgery. In rare cases, women may be born with tubal abnormalities, usually associated with uterus irregularities.
Tubal disease affects approximately 25% of infertile couples and varies widely, ranging from mild adhesions to complete tubal blockage. Treatment for tubal disease is most commonly surgery and, owing to the advances in microsurgery and lasers, success rates are as high as 30% overall, with certain procedures having success rates up to 65%.
2: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. The name of the condition comes from the appearance of the ovaries in most, but not all, women with the disorder — enlarged and containing numerous small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary (polycystic appearance). Polycystic ovary syndrome is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) is common, affecting as many as 1 out of 15 women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.
The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Symptoms related to elevated androgen levels include acne, excess hair growth on the body (hirsutism), and male-pattern hair loss. Other signs and symptoms of PCOS include obesity and weight gain, elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance, oily skin, dandruff, infertility, skin discolorations, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, and multiple, small cysts in the ovaries. Any of the above symptoms and signs may be absent in PCOS, with the exception of irregular or no menstrual periods. All women with PCOS will have irregular or no menstrual periods. Women who have PCOS do not regularly ovulate; that is, they do not release an egg every month. This is why they do not have regular periods and typically have difficulty conceiving.
3: Varicocele Repair for Infertility
Varicoceles are enlarged varicose veins that occur in the scrotum. They are fairly common, affecting 15% of men overall and 40% of men with known infertility. Varicoceles occur most often in the left testicle. Varicocele repair is performed to improve male fertility. It can usually be done surgically on an outpatient basis using local or general anesthetic. A small incision is made in the abdomen close to where the testicles originally descended through the abdominal wall. The veins that produce the varicocele are identified and cut to eliminate blood flow to the varicocele. Alternatively, a nonsurgical procedure called percutaneous embolization can be done to repair a varicocele. A small catheter is inserted through a large vein in the groin or neck and advanced to the varicocele, which is then blocked off by a balloon, coil, or medicine.
4: Abnormal Sperm Count, Shape, Motility
More than 90% of male infertility cases are due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. In 30 - 40% of cases of sperm abnormalities, the cause is unknown. It may be the end result of one or more factors that include chronic illness, malnutrition, genetic defects, structural abnormalities and environmental factors. Partial obstruction anywhere in the long passages through which sperm pass can reduce sperm counts. In one study, obstruction was believed to be a contributing factor in over 60% of low sperm count cases.
Sperm size and shape is referred to as sperm morphology, and it's one of three factors analyzed in a semen analysis. The other two are sperm motility, or movement, and sperm count. Sperm have to be willing to get a move on. That last distance to the egg can only be crossed with some serious sperms. More than 40 percent of a man's sperm have to be active swimmers for a good chance at fertility.
Approximately 10% of infertile couples are affected by endometriosis. In fact, 30-40% of patients with endometriosis are infertile. This is two to three times the rate of infertility in the general population. For women with endometriosis, the monthly fecundity (chance of getting pregnant) diminishes by 12 to 36%. Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) similar to those that form the inside or lining the tissue of the uterus, but in a location outside of the uterus. Growth occurs not only in the uterus but also elsewhere in the abdomen, such as in the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the pelvic peritoneum. A positive diagnosis can only be made by diagnostic laparoscopy, a test that allows the physician to view the uterus, fallopian tubes, and pelvic cavity directly. The symptoms often associated with endometriosis include heavy, painful and long menstrual periods, urinary urgency, rectal bleeding and premenstrual spotting. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms at all, owing to the fact that there is no correlation between the extent of the disease and the severity of the symptoms. The long term cumulative pregnancy rates are normal in patients with minimal endometriosis and normal anatomy. Current studies demonstrate that pregnancy rates are not improved by treating minimal endometriosis.
Apart from these infertility causes there are many factors that contribute to the infertility. These includes unexplained infertility, increased age in men and women, lifestyle habits like alcohol, smoking, caffeine, overweight or underweight, sexually transmitted diseases, occupational or enviornmental factors and stress.
If you are experiencing infertility problems either due to PCOS, endometriosis, varicocele, abnormal sperm count,shape or motility, blocked fallopian tubes or increasing age or secondary infertility, it is extremely important for you to take a call and visit your infertility expert at the earliest. The Blossom Fertility and IVF Centre aims to reduce the stress and hassle associated with infertility treatment and investigations by offering a one-stop fertility diagnostic and treatment service for infertile couples. The Centre offers state-of-the-art class 10000 IVF laboratory and equipments, and specialist clinical, scientific and nursing care. Excellent IVF success rates are achieved for most types of fertility treatment.
Contact today for consultation with a our highly-skilled fertility specialist to couples interested in learning more about their options for having a baby using assisted reproductive technology. Please call on +91 99799 46222, +91 261 2470444 to schedule an appointment.