All about infertility

“Understanding how much infertility can impact your life can help you make better decisions about when you start and how you go about it,”

Here are answers to five frequently asked questions on infertility.

1) How common is infertility?

Infertility is classically defined as a year of trying unprotected sex without conception. Infertility today affects one out of every six couples

Men and women are affected almost equally, with 30% due to male factors, 30% due to female factors. The other 40% is often due to a mixture of problems, or is referred to as “unexplained.”

2) What causes infertility in women?

Irregular menstrual cycles are a common reason for infertility.

There are also a number of diseases and conditions that can contribute to infertility. Smoking and weight also play a role. According to a study about 12% of all cases are because a woman weighs too much or too little.

But many experts believe age is the biggest cause of female infertility, playing more of a role for women than for men. “If you look at fertility curves, there’s about a 50% decline in the ability for a woman to get pregnant from age 30 to 40


3) What causes infertility in men?

The most common reasons for male infertility

Hormone imbalances, or blockages in the male reproductive organs. Obstructions in the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis.

Physical issues, such as injuries to the testicles, radiation and chemotherapy, the failure of testicles to drop, or an enlargement of veins in the scrotum called varicocele, can all contribute as well.

Diabetes and thyroid issues such as hyperthyroidism can affect sperm count and mobility.

4. What are treatment options?

If women are not ovulating, it’s a relatively simple fix. You can usually fix it with oral meds that induce ovulation. There are also injectable forms.

When a couple doesn’t respond to medication or surgical interventions, they often turn to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves placing the man’s sperm into the woman’s uterus with a long, narrow tube. IUI is most effective for treating women with cervical defects or scarring, or men with low sperm counts, issues with sperm mobility, erection or retrograde ejaculation.

In in-vitro fertilization, sperm and eggs are removed from each parent and mixed together in a lab.

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is probably the most well-known ART technique. That’s when sperm and eggs are removed from each parent and mixed together in a laboratory to create an embryo. Maternal age, body mass index, lifestyle factors and reproductive history can all affect the success of IVF, as can the viability of the embryo.

If these techniques don’t work, couples sometimes turn to a third-party donor for help. Sperm or egg donations can assist couples with issues who cannot conceive. Sperm banks have been around for years. Today there are now egg banks, which have grown in popularity as egg-freezing technology has improved.

The author can be contacted at :

Dr Shweta Patil, MS(OBG) Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine


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