What is infertility?
Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse in women under 35, or after six months in women over 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.
What is the right time to seek Help?
Most physicians advise you not to be concerned unless you have been trying to conceive for at least one year. If the female partner is over 30 years old, has a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, recurrent miscarriage, or irregular periods, it might be prudent to seek help sooner. If the male partner has a known or suspected low sperm count, then it would also be prudent to seek help sooner than waiting a year.
What is male infertility?
Reproduction (or making a baby) is a simple and natural experience for most couples. However, for some couples it is very difficult to conceive.
A man’s fertility generally relies on the quantity and quality of his sperm. If the number of sperm a man ejaculates is low or if the sperm are of poor quality, it will be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to cause a pregnancy.
Male infertility is diagnosed when, after testing both partners, reproductive problems have been found in the male.
How common is male infertility?
Infertility is a widespread problem. For about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner.
It is estimated that one in 20 men has some kind of fertility problem with low numbers of sperm in his ejaculate. However, only about one in every 100 men has no sperm in his ejaculate.
What causes male infertility?
Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either sperm production or sperm transport. Through medical testing, the doctor may be able to find the cause of the problem.
About two-thirds of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly.
Sperm transport problems are found in about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children.
Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.
Other less common causes of infertility include: sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilization to take place (one in 100 infertile couples); low levels of hormones made in the pituitary gland that act on the testes (one in 100 infertile men); and sperm antibodies (found in one in 16 infertile men). In most men sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of a pregnancy but in some men sperm antibodies reduce fertility.
What is female infertility?
Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse. About 10% of couples in the United States are affected by infertility. Both men and women can be infertile. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1/3 of the time, the diagnosis is due to female infertility, 1/3 of the time it is linked to male infertility, and the remaining cases of infertility are due to a combination of factors from both partners.
Is fertility a Woman’s problem?
Both male and female factors contribute to infertility. Some studies suggest that male and female factors contribute equally. In many cases it may not be possible to definitely explain the reasons for infertility. It is essential that both the male and female partners be evaluated during an infertility work up.
How does PCOS influence fertility?
When you have PCOS, it changes the hormonal pathways in your body that produce eggs and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. The three most important reasons why becoming pregnant, or staying pregnant may be more challenging for women with PCOS are:
- Women with PCOS often do not always ovulate.
- Women with PCOS tend to have irregular periods rather than “normal” predictable monthly cycles
- When and if an egg is released, the endometrium (lining of the uterus) may not be sufficiently prepared to sustain the pregnancy.