In today’s scenario, almost 27.5 million couples are suffering from infertility and almost every sixth couple is facing this problem. Infertility is the inability of a couple to bear a child when using no contraception for a period of 1 year. This could be due to the male not being able to contribute to conception or the female not being able to get pregnant. Though the female is attributed to be the reason very often, almost 50% of infertility cases are due to issues with the male.
Causes: Some of the most important causes of infertility are:
Women: Poor egg quality and reserve, ageing, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, pelvic surgery with removal of ovaries or uterus, tubal blockages, chemotherapy, radiotherapy for cancers.
Men: Erectile dysfunction, hypo-gonadism, low sperm count, no sperm count in semen, poor sperm quality, testicular infections, ejaculation disorders.
Apart from the causes of infertility, some are the risk factors which are increasing its incidence and are identified to be:
- Advanced Marital Age and Delaying Parenthood: With females choosing to marry late and have children later in life, even as late as 40 years, infertility is on the rise. As per studies, female fertility is believed to reduce after 30 years.
- Smoking: This is the biggest contributor of infertility in recent times, the effect is more severe when the woman is also a smoker.
- Obesity: With changing lifestyles, obesity has become an epidemic in both women and men, leading to infertility.
- Increased Stress Levels: This leads to strained relationships. Impotence in men, poor egg quality and erectile dysfunction are all caused by increased stress levels, leading to infertility.
- Eating Disorders: Leads to obesity and poor health overall, leading to infertility.
- Alcohol Consumption: This again causes erectile dysfunction, leading to infertility.
- Excessive or Lack of Exercise: Lack of exercise leads to obesity and overall lethargy. Over-exercising, on the other hand, leads to erectile dysfunction.
- Environmental Pollution: Exposure to toxins and chemicals has increased, reducing overall sperm and egg quality.
The reason for infertility should be identified so that treatment can be directed appropriately. The following tests are useful for diagnosis:
- Blood tests like AMH /LH /FSH
- Ultrasound on day 2 of menstrual cycle to know the Antral follicular count (AFC)
- STD testing (HIV/HBS Ag/VDRL/HCV)
- Thyroid Function Tests
- Serum Prolactin
- Husband Semen Analysis
- Tube Test known as HSG (HYSTEROSALPINGOGRAPHY)
Treatments available: Once the cause is identified, then targeted treatment can be done, including-
- Sexual counselling for the couple
- Hormonal treatments for women
- Intrauterine insemination
- In-vitro fertilization
- Donor egg programs
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult our award winning IVF expert & get answers to your questions and get an individualized treatment for yourself to have best chances of success!