Infertility is a sensitive issue for many couples trying to conceive. When two people want to have a child and they are unable to, it can be heartbreaking. However, there is good news: oftentimes, the issue of infertility can be identified by one of five common causes, and frequently, there are methods that couples can discuss with their doctor to address the problems.
Every month, the lining of the woman’s uterus, called the endometrium, prepares itself for the possibility of a pregnancy. The endometrium swells and thickens because of the endrometrial cells, and one of the ovaries releases an egg. The uterine lining is shed in the form of a “period” if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg. The period is an indicator to the woman that she is not pregnant. However, sometimes the tissue and lining that the endometrial cells produce, ends up in the wrong place, such as the bowels or in the pelvic region. This is often a cause of infertility, and is identified by pain in that area. Although medical professionals are not exactly sure what causes this to happen, there are two main options to treat endometriosis. The first is to have surgery to remove most of the tissue growth, and the other option is in-vitro fertilization.
Believe it or not, the best shaped sperm is the one who ends up reaching the egg. The ideal sperm has an oval-shaped, paddle-like head, and a long tail. Sperm have a long way to swim, and one that doesn’t have a broken tail, or abnormal shape is the one most likely to make it and fertilize the egg. The other factor to consider with sperm is the sperm count. More than 39 million sperm in one ejaculation is considered to be desirable when trying to achieve pregnancy. Your doctor can conduct a semen analysis to determine sperm size, shape, movement abilities, and sperm count.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
When an egg is released from the ovary, the usual process dictates that it is released into the fallopian tube. However, when a woman suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), this process does not function as it should due to a hormone imbalance. The eggs that exist within the ovary never become mature due to too much of a specific hormone being produced, and they never become released at all. Instead they turn into cysts within the ovary. Luckily, there are many medications available to promote pregnancy in this situation. Additionally, women who have experienced failed in vitro treatments may consider medication to help get them pregnant. It should be noted that the most common treatment, called Clomiphine, often results in multiple births – usually twins or triplets.
Forty percent of men who struggle with infertility have varicoceles – they occur when the blood vessels in the spermatic cord, responsible for bringing blood to the testicles become backed up. They only need to be fixed if they are interfering with sperm production. There are two main solutions for repairing them, one being surgical, and the other nonsurgical. Both procedures have a high rate of success for improving male infertility.
Fallopian Tube Damage or Blockage
Chlamydia and gonorrhea, two common STDs, can lead to PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which can cause a woman to become infertile. When bacteria manage to make it into the cervix and up into the fallopian tubes, it can cause scarring. This scarring affects the ability for the egg and sperm to meet. in some cases, the egg can become implanted in the fallopian tube, instead of the uterus causing an ectopic pregnancy. Antibiotics can be used to treat PID.
These common causes of infertility can be treated with relatively simple medical procedures, and can increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Even a failed IVF cycle can be fixed once you know the cause. Once the cause can be identified, a plan can be implemented to move towards a solution that increases fertility chances.
Written by Brooke C.; Guest Blogger for Mom at Last