Written by Aparna Hari
The word ‘infertility’ is a nightmare for couples trying to have a baby in their life. But with the involvement of stress, fast foods, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle, infertility is not a distant phenomenon in today’s world. Almost 22% of married couples now suffer to get a natural conception because of infertility. That is why IVF and test tube baby centres are getting more popular. There can be many types of infertility and each one is treated after careful monitoring, conducting various tests and charting a treatment plan. The treatment path for one couple may be different from the treatment path for another.
Both physical and environmental reasons can cause infertility. Environmental causes can be easily eradicated but physical reasons will require medical help to heal. So what is infertility and what are the types of it? What are the reasons and symptoms of infertility? When should one get a doctor’s advice and treatment for infertility? Here is detailed information for your queries.
In This Article
According to WHO, infertility is a condition of the reproductive system in men and women that cause failure in achieving pregnancy after trying for 12 months of unprotected regular sexual intercourse. Approximately one out of every six people belonging to reproductive age is suffering from infertility. The main reasons for infertility in the male reproductive system are insufficient sperm count or poor quality of the sperm, problems with ejecting the sperm, abnormal shape and movement of the sperm, etc. Female infertility can occur due to abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, endocrine system, etc.
According to the NHS, there are two types of infertility. These are as follows;
Primary infertility is one of the most common types of infertility and may need advanced artificial reproduction techniques to achieve a successful pregnancy. In this type of infertility, the couple has tried to conceive before but has been unsuccessful or they are having difficulty in conceiving.
This happens when the person has one or more successful conceptions before but currently having problems conceiving again.
[Read : Secondary Infertility]
Subfertility is the condition where natural conception is possible but it takes a longer wait. In subfertility, conception can happen without medical intervention which is not possible in the case of infertility. Subfertility is the delay in conception that may or may not lead to infertility. In subfertility, couples after changing their lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, avoiding smoking and drinking, and using an ovulation predictor kit or measuring basal body temperature, etc. can get a positive result.
Unexplained infertility is the condition when the cause of infertility in the person or the couple is not prominent after various fertility tests. It is a term used by healthcare providers to describe infertility without any obvious cause found after fertility tests. It is a tricky situation as it gets difficult to understand where to focus on. Doctors will declare unexplained fertility if the couple was not having any problems regarding ovulation time, the structure of the uterus and fallopian tubes, egg and sperm count, hormonal levels, etc. In this case, fertility enhancement treatments and assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intrauterine insemination) are helpful.
The most obvious symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant after trying for several months without using birth control.
There may or may not be any other symptoms of infertility in the patient.
Women with infertility can have menstrual problems such as irregular or absent periods.
Men with infertility on the other hand can show some signs of hormonal misbalance, such as having changes in facial hair growth, erectile dysfunction, etc.
Both the help of medication and surgery can be taken for treating infertility in men and women.
Women suffering from ovulation disorders such as delayed or absent ovulation can take the help of fertility drugs and medications. The doctor will provide you with fertility drugs to regulate and induce ovulation and release multiple eggs in a cycle if needed. A fertility specialist with decide the course of medications during monitored cycles. Apart from these, the doctor may also prescribe general fertility supplements for women to improve the chances of healthy egg and a healthy conception.
For men, doctors can prescribe medicines to improve testicular function to increase sperm count, quality and motility. Fertility supplements for men also can be extremely helpful.
Women with uterine problems such as the uterine septum, endometrial polyps, ovarian cysts, intrauterine scar tissues, etc. can take the help of various surgical methods to correct the defects. The correction of these defects can improve the chances of conception.
In men, surgery can be conducted to cure male infertility by reversing sperm blockage and repairing varicocele.
[Read : Can Ovarian Cysts Make It Difficult To Get Pregnant?]
If the above treatments are not sufficient then ART or assisted reproductive technology is used.
IVF or in vitro fertilization is the most popular ART technique. IVF includes stimulating and obtaining several mature eggs of the mother and fertilising them on a lab dish with the sperm of the father.
In this process, a single sperm is injected into the egg directly. This process is done in case of poor sperm quantity or quality and failed previous IVFs.
[Read : What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?]
Usually, IUI, IVF and ICSI use the egg and semen of the couple suffering from infertility. But if either the egg or the sperm is not good enough then it can be taken from a known or unknown donor.
This technique is used to assist the implantation process by opening the outer cover of the embryo before planting it on the uterus lining.
If the woman has problems with uterus functions or has any serious health condition that will not allow her to carry a baby to full term, then a gestational carrier can carry the couple’s embryo for the next nine months.
A couple will need to consult a fertility expert or a gynecologist if they have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for a period of 6 months or more. Additionally, the following conditions in men and women may warrant a visit to the doctor.
Having infertility does not necessarily mean that you cannot become pregnant. There are several ways of treatment that you can get to increase your fertility chances. There is assisted reproductive technology for your help. So do not lose hope. Start early, choose the right hospital, follow proper diet and lifestyle habits and treatment routines.
Yes, genetic inheritance is one of many causes of infertility. Almost half of the people suffering from infertility have genetically inherited the problem. However, fertility is a complex medical condition that does not limit to only genetic causes.
There are mainly three types of treatment you can get for infertility according to your condition. These are; medications, surgical procedures, and assisted reproductive procedures that include IVF and IUI.
According to NCBI, the most common infertility in women is failure to ovulate and almost 40% of infertile women have this issue. Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS has recently become the main reason behind ovulation failure in women.
Read Also: What Are The Different Types Of Assisted Reproductive Technologies?
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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