Infertility Risk Factors – Diagnosis and Treatment
Posted on : 2023-May-03 15:10:57
Infertility has been affecting millions of couples from having children. There can be several medical, genetic and environmental factors that lead to infertility. A pregnancy involves several steps. If any of the steps do not take place, pregnancy cannot happen. There are several advanced infertility treatments that can help couples achieve parenthood and have a child. Knowing the underlying cause of infertility can help reduce the risks and complications.
Types of Infertility
Infertility is classified into three types namely:
- Primary infertility: Primarily infertility is the one where you are unable to conceive and give birth to your first child after having unprotected sex for more than six months.
- Secondary infertility: This type of infertility affects your second pregnancy and you have had a successful pregnancy in the past.
- Unexplained infertility: This type of infertility does not have any underlying reason.
How Do I Know If I Have Infertility?
Being unable to conceive even after trying for more than six months is the main sign of infertility. There may not be any other signs than this. But, some women may experience the following signs:
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Irregular or missing periods
Men may experience changes in sexual function and hair growth.
Risk Factors for Developing Infertility Issues
There are certain factors that can cause infertility in both men and women. The following are the risk factors:
- For women, fertility gradually decreases in the 30s and for men, fertility drops after the 40s
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Radiation therapy
- Being overweight or underweight
- Chronic diseases
Common Causes of Infertility in Women
There are several causes of infertility in women such as the following:
- Ovulation disorders: It is the most common cause of infertility in women. Ovulation issues affect the release of an egg from the ovaries and meet sperm for fertilization. Ovulation disorders occur due to thyroid problems, PCOD, hyperprolactinemia, problems in the uterus, etc.
- Poor egg quality: The quality and quantity of eggs decline with age. Damaged eggs cannot sustain a pregnancy.
- Surgery: Pelvic surgery can damage the fallopian tubes and cause scarring.
- Blocked or damaged fallopian tube: Inflammation of the fallopian tube can either damage or block the fallopian tubes.
- Endometriosis: It is a condition where the endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus and it affects the functioning of the uterus and ovaries.
- Early menopause: Early menopause means that the ovaries do not work and your menstruation will stop before your 40s. It can be due to immune system diseases or chemotherapy.
- Uterine fibroids: These are the non-cancerous growths of muscle and fibrous tissue around the uterus. They rarely affect pregnancy.
- Cancers: Cancers that affect the reproductive systems may have an impact on female fertility. Even radiation therapy also affects your chances of becoming pregnant.
Common Causes of Infertility in Men
Men may also become infertile due to several reasons. Both men and women may have issues that cause infertility either from birth or may develop later. However, the following are infertility causes in men:
- Varicocele: It is the enlargement of veins in the scrotum. It can affect the quality of sperm.
- Abnormal sperm production: Several conditions such as genetic defects, diabetes, HIV, and chlamydia can lead to abnormal sperm production.
- Ejaculation issues: Ejaculation issues may block the ejaculatory ducts and can affect the delivery of sperm.
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalance in men can also cause infertility.
- Certain diseases: Diseases such as diabetes, anaemia, and thyroid disease also has an impact on male fertility.
- Environmental factors: Overexposure to pesticides, chemicals, radiation, and high blood pressure can affect fertility.
Diagnosis of Infertility
The diagnosis of infertility in both men and women begins with knowing the medical history and by conducting a medical exam. Based on those, the doctor may provide recommendations to help become pregnant. In some cases, there is no reason for infertility.
A woman’s fertility is based on the ovulation of healthy eggs. The released egg should travel through the fallopian tube and then combine with sperm for fertilization. The fertilized egg should then travel to the uterus and should get implanted in the uterine lining. The tests for infertility in women try to identify issues with any of the above steps.
The tests include:
- Pelvic exam
- Blood test
- Ovarian reserve testing
- Hormone testing
In a healthy and fertile man, the testicles should produce healthy sperm and they should be ejaculated into the vagina and should meet the egg. Infertility tests for men try to find if any of these issues are affected. The tests for men include:
- Semen analysis
- Hormone testing
- Genetic testing
- Testicular biopsy
- Scrotal ultrasound
Treatment for Infertility
The treatment for infertility for both men and women is based on the underlying causes and the goals. The treatment may be required for both partners or only for one person based on the cause.
The treatment options include:
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting drinking and smoking, etc can help improve the chances of conception.
- Medications: For women, fertility drugs can be used to promote ovulation and increase the chances of pregnancy. For men, medications can help improve testosterone or other hormone levels. Medications can also be used to treat erectile dysfunction.
- Surgery: For women, surgery can be performed to clear blocked fallopian tubes, to remove fibroids or scar tissues. For men, surgery helps to unblock the tube that carries sperm and to fix structural issues.
In some cases, couples may need assisted reproductive techniques (ART) that involve handling both the sperm and egg. The common ART techniques include:
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Assisted hatching
- Donor sperm or egg
Want to Know More About Infertility? Visit Angels Fertility Today
If you have been trying for pregnancy for more than six months and are unsuccessful, consider meeting fertility doctors at Angels Fertility. We have a team of gynaecologists and fertility specialists to determine the underlying cause and help you have a child. We use the latest in technology to ensure you will have a safe treatment. To know more about us, call us or drop us an email.