Infertility is a big scary problem that many women and families have to face. We should state right away, that the success of treatment and the returning of the fertile state to some extent depend on the psychological factor. You will have to cast your fears and worries away, tune into the positive wave and prepare for the hardest work: constant visits to the doctor and self-improvement.
The main problem is that the longer infertility problem remains, the more difficult it is to diagnose and establish the reasons for infertility.
What is infertility?
Infertility (Latin Sterilitas.) – in medicine – the inability of a couples of the reproductive age to conceive a child with regular sexual life.
Infertility is diagnosed if the couple can’t get pregnant within one year of sexual activity without protection. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that the couple won’t be able to have a baby for the rest of their lives. In many cases, infertility is successfully cured.
There is absolute infertility, connected with pathological conditions that exclude the ability to conceive, and relative infertility that can be corrected. There is also primary infertility (the parents were never pregnant before) and secondary infertility (anamnesis illustrates previous pregnancy (-ies)).
The most common point of view is that if the woman can’t get pregnant – she is the problem – is a mistake. The scientists have proved a long time ago that male infertility is as widespread as a female one. If the couple vainly tries hard to conceive during one year without a protection, there is a 45% chance that the problem is in the male’s body.
There are three major causes that contribute to male infertility:
- Spermatozoa inferiority (violations in movement and viability);
- Their rapid decrease in number;
- Disturbances on their way and their discharge.
The scientists believe that these reasons are caused by at least a dozen of other circumstances. The following are the most common:
- Varicocele (15% of all cases) – an abnormal distension of the veins of the spermatic cord in the scrotum. As a result, the temperature in the testicles rises and the spermatozoa are damaged.
- Male genitals traumas and malfunctions – 10-12%.
- Infectious diseases (10% of all cases). STDs primarily, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and etc. But there is one children disease that alters men worse than any STD – mumps.
- Genito-urinary diseases, such as prostatitis and urethritis.
- Sexual disorders: erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and etc.
- Problems with the immune system that trigger the secretion of special substances in the body that can harm spermatozoa.
- Hormonal imbalance – testosterone deficiency, for example.
- A range of external causes, such as psychoactive substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs, some meds), bad ecology (radiation, pesticides, C-vitamin deficiency, zinc deficiency) and even careless body treatment (tight clothes, frequent sauna visits, excessive workout, and others)
The basic diagnostics method is spermogram. Its results will enable to establish the number, the mobility and the vitality of the sperm and will help to plan the treatment. The urologist is the doctor who will help in case of male infertility.
Another method is an ultrasonic testicles and scrotum examination, to specify the prostate structure and seminal vesicle state.
If it comes to the worst, the biopsy is scheduled. This method is applied in those cases when the sperm should be found convoluted seminiferous tubule and put into the fertile woman’s egg.
Infertility in women
Infertility in women is far more versatile than a male one because the female body should not only produce a fertile egg, but also create the conditions perfect for conception and pregnancy. Any minor failure in the work of reproductive organs can make the conception a problem.
The main causes of infertility in women are:
- The problems with egg maturation. These consist 39% of all cases. Very often these problems occur due to the hormones imbalance (those that control the egg development). Sometimes the eggs are damaged due to the inflammation.
- 30% take uterine tubes malfunctions. They can be damaged or plugged. It can happen because of the adhesions that emerge after an operation, abortion or extra-uterine pregnancy; or because of the uterine tubes inflammation processes, such as uterine appendages inflammation or endometritis. The spermatozoon must meet the egg in the uterine tube and if it’s plugged the conception is impossible.
- Problems with the cervical canal of the uterus. Healthy women have it filled with mucus that is needed so that spermatozoa would get over the cervical canal of the uterus with ease and reach the egg. If the mucus is too viscous, or its amount is not enough, or its chemical composition is changed, the spermatozoa won’t be able to reach the egg. This may happen because of the STDs, mucin-producing glands malfunctions, and neck of the womb erosion or inflammation.
- Immune problems: there are substances in the neck of the womb that can damage or even destroy the spermatozoa.
- Womb malfunctions: development defects, myomas, fibromas, fibromyomas, polyps, and cysts.
- Endometriosis leads to infertility in 40-50% of cases.
- Some diseases that are not connected to the genitals, such as metabolic imbalance, thyroid and adrenal glands diseases, diabetes, and etc.
Women must know that the older they get the harder it is to get pregnant. The additional factors that can alter your fertile abilities are smoking, alcohol drinking, bad environment (ecology), stress, obesity, lack of weight, and vitamins deficiency.
Signs of infertility
The most important sign that suggests about infertility is inability to conceive during one year when all the conditions are favorable, that is:
- Regular sex
- A partner with a good spermogram
- A complete refusal of contraception means
- The woman is 20-40 years old.
Infertility doesn’t have one leading sign, and actually, it has either no signs at all or only indirect ones. The signs are diagnosed during medical history composition, examination and taking various tests.
In this case, the role of the anamnesis is to learn about too long or too short, painful periods. Infertility can be assumed in the case of indirect symptoms that can indicate infectious or surgical diseases.
The main task in treating infertility is to eliminate the damages and diseases that caused the problem: to stabilize hormonal balance, to renew uterine tubes permeability, to remove the tumors, and others. Follow your doctor orders and instructions; don’t say “no” to surgery, it can be necessary. 60% of couples conceive successfully after the course of infertility treatment.
Even if the cause of the problem wasn’t established, there is still a chance to get pregnant with one of the modern methods:
- Ovary stimulation (in case of ovulation absence or disturbance);
- Artificial insemination (if the problem lies in the male body – a small number of spermatozoa or their poor activity in natural conditions; allergic reactions of the woman’s body to the sperm components, and etc.);
- IVF (in vitro fertilization) – egg fertilization by sperm outside the body (in the lab) with the following implantation back to the woman’s body;
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) – a sperm is injected directly into an egg inside the woman’s body.
- Sperm donorship;
- Egg donorship;
- Surrogate mother (IVF is used as one of the interim steps).
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There are lots of possibilities to ensure that you will have a baby. And while the success is not 100% guaranteed, there are many people around the world who get their chance to become happy parents with the help of modern medicine.