What is Infertility
Infertility is inability to become pregnant after a year of trying. If a woman keeps having miscarriages, it is also called infertility. Many couples have infertility problems. About a third of the time, infertility can be traced to the woman. In another third of cases, it is because of the man. The rest of the time, it is because of both partners or no cause is found.
Signs and symptoms
In fact, most couples achieve pregnancy within the first 6 months of trying. Overall, after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, about 90%of couples will become pregnant. The majority of the remaining couples will eventually conceive, with or without treatment.
The only one sign of infertility is the inability for a couple to get pregnant. Some infertile woman may have abnormal menstrual periods. An infertile man may have some signs of hormonal problems such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.
A young, reproductively healthy couple who is not using contraception has roughly a 20% chance of conceiving in any given month. If someone is young and has no reason to think they might be infertile, they should try for up to a year before considering consulting a physician regarding some kind of infertility treatment. If the female partner is over 35, most fertility specialists recommend seeking treatment after 6 months, so that the chances can be improved while the woman is still young enough to be fairly confident of a problem-free pregnancy.
Causes of infertility in women include the followings:
- chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- damaged ovaries
- blocked fallopian tubes
- hypothyroidism (a thyroid disorder)
- endometriosis (a condition where cells from the womb lining are found outside the womb)
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- scarring in the uterus
- fibroids (benign smooth-muscle tumours of the uterus)
- congenital diseases like cystic fibrosis
- excessive exercise (leading to missed menstrual periods)
- anorexia or bulimia
- frequent changes in weight
- damage to the cervix (e.g., through an abortion or dilatation and curettage [D&C])
Causes of infertility in men are:
- hormone disturbance
- overheating of the testicles caused by exercise, hot water, tight clothing, excessive sitting (truck drivers) and other conditions and situations
- cancer medications and radiation therapy
- mumps after puberty
- anatomical abnormalities of the genitals such as undescended testicles
- use of some medications such as some for high blood pressure, some antidepressants, and male hormones
- genital injury prostate surgery
- varicose veins in the testicles
- excessive alcohol
- intercourse problems such as premature
- withdrawal or poor timing with their partner's menstrual cycle
- spinal cord injury
- genetic abnormalities
- urinary tract infection
- cystic fibrosis
- illicit drug use (e.g., using cocaine, smoking marijuana)
Unfortunately, most types of male infertility cannot be prevented. However, men should avoid drug and tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Also, high temperatures can affect sperm production and motility. Although this effect is usually temporary, men should avoid hot tubs and steam baths.
For couples, having sex 2-3 times a week may improve fertility. Too-frequent ejaculation can lessen sperm quality. Sperm survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 72 hours and an egg can be fertilized for up to 24 hours after ovulation.
A woman can increase her chances of becoming pregnant by taking the following steps:
- You should exercise moderately. Regular exercise is important, but if you are exercising so intensely that your periods are infrequent or absent, your fertility may be impaired.
- Avoid weight extremes. Being overweight or underweight can affect your hormone production and cause infertility.
- You should avoid alcohol, tobacco and street drugs, because these substances may impair your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
- It is very important to limit caffeine
- Limit medications, because they can decrease your chance of getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy.
There are only 2 ways of infertility treatment; natural and medical.
Natural Infertility Treatments:
Natural infertility treatments are generally of the holistic type and revolve around general wellness including both your physical and mental state.
- Physical Therapy provide a holistic infertility treatment which concentrates on releasing adhesions in and around your reproductive areas. This technique is called the Wurn Technique and it basically involves massage and movement to work these adhesions out. The main aim is that once your system is cleared of these adhesions, your natural reproductive system will function better, giving you a better chance of conception.
- Acupuncture is another physical therapy which is slightly more invasive. For those of you who do not know what acupuncture is, it basically involves sticking long sterile needles into specific points in your body. It is aimed to block orunblock, certain pathways to regulate bodily functions.
Medical Infertility Treatments
- IVF. Even though the IVF cost is very high while IVF success rates are relatively poor, this treatment remains very popular as it is seen by most as the only viable option. IVF basically involves creating a test tube baby by combining an egg and a sperm together in a laboratory. The process to get the eggs is the big part of IVF. This involves heavy daily hormone injections and lots of testing and surgeries. The whole process is very stressful and not very holistic which probably explains why the success rates are so low.
- Artificial Insemination or IUI is the process involves a medical procedure to implant sperm directly into a woman's cervix. It is like having sex without the sex. This procedure is not something that most couples opt for as the success rates are not that much better than doing it the natural way.