Infertility Statistics Are Surprising
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying. In the US, over 6 million women suffer from infertility issues. However, infertility isn’t just a female problem. Male infertility affects up to 50% of couples struggling to conceive. In total, approximately 15% of American couples struggle with infertility.
What causes female infertility?
Female infertility issues cover a broad spectrum. The following conditions can affect a female’s ability to reproduce.
- Irregular periods: A normal menstrual cycle occurs every 21-35 days. Females with irregular periods do not ovulate (release an egg) regularly, which causes issues with conception.
- Age: Females over the age of 35 produce less eggs. Additionally, the quality of these eggs decreases along with an increase in genetic mutations.
- Uterine fibroids and polyps: Polyps and fibroids affect the size, shape, and functionality of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This affects implantation and carrying a child full-term. These abnormalities can also cause irregular periods.
- Pelvic infections and STDs: Infection can have a lasting affect on the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing permanent scarring.
The issues surrounding male Infertility
Part of the time, infertility is due to the male partner. These male infertility conditions affect the man’s ability to reproduce.
- Infection: STDs can scar the epididymis and testicles which leads to permanent testicular damage.
- Tumors: Tumors can develop with the pituitary glands or other reproductive organs.
- Undescended testicles: Testicles that don’t drop during the male’s developmental years affect a male’s fertility.
- Defective tubules: If the tubes (vans deferens, etc.) that carry sperm have blockages, the sperm will have difficulty traveling through the penis to the egg.
- Varicocele: This condition also affects the tubes, but specifically attacks the tubes that drain the testicles.
- Retrograde ejaculation: This problem happens when sperm goes into the bladder instead of exiting the penis during ejaculation.
- Klinefelter’s syndrome, Kallmann’s syndrome, Kartagener’s syndrome: These syndromes are chromosome defects that causes a male to be born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, affecting the reproductive organs.
IVF is an option for infertility
The only person that can diagnose a patient with an infertility disorder is a qualified healthcare provider. Physicians may run several tests such as ultrasounds, semen analyses, and lab tests, along with physical examinations to properly diagnose and treat patients. In the past, couples suffering with fertility issues had to consider surrogates or adoption to have a family. Today, through the help of infertility treatments such as IVF, couples have many more options.
Talking to a doctor about IVF
Often, doctors will try in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments to help struggling couples. During these treatments, doctors harvest eggs and semen to artificially inseminate a person. Many couples have had success with these types of fertility treatments.