Journey to become a parent can be challenging, and infertility can present unexpected obstacles for many couples. Yet infertility is still seen as a complex issue, so we will dive into it, its various causes for both men and women, and the range of treatments available today. Whether you are experiencing primary infertility or secondary infertility, understanding the factors involved and seeking appropriate solutions can bring hope and pave the way for a successful conception. Let’s start!

What is Infertility?

It is typically defined as the inability to conceive after a year (or two years) of regular unprotected intercourse. Infertility can be further classified as primary, where no previous pregnancies have occurred, or secondary, which affects individuals who have previously conceived but are now struggling to conceive again. 

Causes of Infertility

Infertility is a complex issue influenced by various factors, Roughly one-third of infertility cases can be linked to male factors, another one-third to female factors, and the remaining one-third can stem from a combination of issues between partners or unexplained origins.
In women, infertility can be caused by ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, or conditions affecting the uterus. In men, factors such as low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that impede sperm delivery can contribute to infertility.

How to Know if Someone is Infertile?

For men, a semen analysis is conducted to evaluate the quantity, quality, and movement (motility) of sperm. This test assesses sperm count, morphology (shape), and other factors to determine if male infertility factors are present.

In women, tracking the menstrual cycle and identifying the occurrence of ovulation is essential. Methods may include tracking basal body temperature, observing cervical mucus changes, or using ovulation predictor kits.

There are also other medical tests and procedures like hormone testing, imaging tests, laproscopy, and genetic tests. 

Infertility Treatments

Identifying the root cause of infertility is vital for determining appropriate treatment. Available options range from fertility drugs, which regulate or stimulate ovulation, to surgical procedures addressing physical impediments such as blocked fallopian tubes in women or blocked ejaculatory ducts in men. Also there are other advanced treatment methods like IVF and ICSI.

Medications are frequently the initial step, aiming to regulate or induce ovulation. In case there are other problems like tissue blockages or blocked fallopian tubes, surgical interventions might be necessary. 

What are Assisted Reproduction Technologies?

As mentioned above, there are couple of advanced treatment methods for infertility like in-vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection techonologies. IVF is a procedure that involves the fertilization of eggs with sperm outside the body in a laboratory setting.

There is also ICSI, a procedure in which a single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg to facilitate fertilization. It is also one of the parts of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle.

FAQs About Infertility

How long should couples try to conceive before seeking help?

Generally, if you’re under 35, seeking help after a year of trying to conceive is recommended. If you’re over 35, it is advised to seek help after six months.

Is infertility only a woman’s problem?

No, infertility affects both men and women. Both partners contribute to the possibility of infertility.

Does lifestyle impact fertility?

Yes, lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, and managing stress can positively influence fertility.

Do abortion and birth control pills cause infertility?

Generally a single and uncomplicated abortion does not cause any harm in terms of fertility. Yet, multiple abortions could potentially lead to scarring or damage to the uterus, which might affect fertility.

For pills, once a person stops taking them fertility generally returns to its normal state quickly. Yet, it may take a few menstrual cycles for ovulation to resume regularly.

Does IVF work on the first try?

While some couples do conceive during their first round of IVF, success rates can vary. It may take more than one cycle, so patience and persistence are often necessary during the IVF journey.

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