Infertility is a term that refers to physical problems a person can have that make conceiving and carrying a baby to term difficult. By definition, if a woman has been trying to get pregnant for over one year without success, she is considered infertile. Although many simplify it, reproduction is an extremely delicate and complicated process, and if problems are encountered at any point during the journey from gamete to baby, infertility can occur. Men and women can both experience infertility equally, making this a complex and challenging problem for many people.
Male infertility can be caused by many factors. If a man has oligospermia, he may not produce an adequate number of sperm cells, and if he has azoospermia, he may not produce any sperm cells at all. Even if cells are produced, they can be incorrectly formed or for other reasons be unable to reach the female's egg. Other men experiencing infertility may have been born with a genetic disease or had an accident or illness that is negatively affecting their ability to inseminate naturally. Lifestyle practices like heavy drug or alcohol use, taking certain medications, and cigarette smoking are other factors that could contribute to male infertility.
Female infertility can result from as many or more variables. Ovulation disorders that prevent a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg), are a primary concern, including polycystic ovarian syndrome. Other scenarios that can affect conception and successful pregnancy in women are problems with the fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis. These represent physical problems where sperm, egg, or the fertilized egg are blocked from completing their normal phases by unnecessary tissue masses present in the female reproductive organs. A woman's fertility can also be affected by lifestyle choices, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, unhealthy diet, and other factors.
Whether you are experiencing male infertility, female infertility, both, or you are unsure, a great first step is to contact an experienced fertility specialist. With their help, many couples have been able to undergo treatments that remove or route the causes of their infertility, resulting in many successful pregnancies.
Find out more about causes of infertility.
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Pregnancy & Birth