Infertility is one of the most common problems nowadays. Because in today’s India infertility is around 4-6% and according to NFHS-1 childlessness among married women above 40 years of age in India is around 2.4%.
If a woman has been trying to conceive for more than 12 months but has been unsuccessful. There is a possibility that the couple is suffering from infertility.
What is infertility?
When a married couple tries to conceive and cannot conceive even after trying continuously for more than 12 months, then they are said to be infertile. The reason for not getting pregnant in that married couple can be infertility in both the man and the woman.
In female infertility, some women have problems in getting pregnant after marriage and some women may have this problem in trying to get pregnant for the second time after they have had one child.
There are 2 types of infertility.
- Primary: Where a couple who have never conceived a child in the past have difficulty conceiving, it is called primary infertility.
- Secondary: If a couple has had 1 or more pregnancies in the past, and is trying to conceive once but is having difficulty conceiving again, it is called primary secondary.
Not being able to get pregnant is the main symptom of infertility. It is possible for women with infertility to have irregular or absent periods. Some men with infertility may experience changes in their sexual function or hair growth due to hormonal problems.
Symptoms of infertility in women:
- If your periods last longer than 35 days, or are shorter than 21 days, or are irregular, you may not be ovulating.
- Painful periods, back pain, pelvic pain and cramping may also occur.
- Sudden weight gain
Symptoms of infertility in men:
- Low sperm count.
- Pain and swelling around the testicles.
- having sex problems
- Recurrent respiratory infection
There are many possible causes of infertility.
Causes of Female Infertility:
- Problems with the uterus: This includes polyps, fibroids, septum or adhesions inside the uterine cavity. Other abnormalities (such as a septum) are present at birth, while polyps and fibroids can form spontaneously at any time.
- Ovulation problems: There can be many reasons why a woman is not ovulating regularly. Ovulation can be affected by hormonal imbalances, eating disorders, alcohol-tobacco abuse, thyroid conditions, severe stress and pituitary tumours.
- The fertilised egg attaches and grows inside the uterus.
- Problems with the fallopian tubes: Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the most common causes of “tubal factor” infertility.
- Your age – If a woman is trying to conceive after 35, then there may be chances of female infertility.
- Endometriosis – Endometriosis Occurs when tissue that normally grows in the uterus begins to grow outside it. This can block the fallopian tubes and prevent an egg and sperm from uniting.
- Stress – Being under stress all the time takes a toll on our hormones and weight. Many women become victims of problems like infertility due to stress.
Causes of Male Infertility:
Male infertility can be caused by low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or a blockage that prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. Many factors can contribute to male infertility, including diseases, injuries, chronic health problems and lifestyle choices.
- Azoospermia: The ejaculate of a person with azoospermia does not contain sperm. There may be a blockage in the reproductive tract, hormonal problems, ejaculation problems, or problems with testicular structure or function.
- Oligospermia: Low or poor quality sperm production in men.
- genetic disease:If you have a family history of Klinefelter syndrome, you may be more likely to develop male infertility.
- Varicoceles:In this, the veins on your testicles are larger than normal, causing them to overheat, which can affect the size or number of sperm.
- If you have taken any treatment like chemotherapy, radiation therapy before this, then due to this also you may have male infertility.
- If you take alcohol, tobacco and drugs, then it affects your sperm.
- Hormonal Disorders: Infertility can be caused by disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.
If an infertile couple is trying to conceive, then the following tips can help them –
- Whether you are overweight or underweight, you should maintain a healthy weight. Healthy weight reduces the risk of ovulation disorders. You should do yoga or exercise daily for at least 30-40 minutes to control weight.
- Quit smoking – Tobacco use has many negative effects on your fertility, as well as your general health.
- Quit alcohol – Consumption of alcohol can affect fertility. A developing fetus can be affected by any amount of alcohol consumed. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol and should not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
- Reduce your stress – Research has shown that stress can result in infertility. Stress not only affects your pregnancy but also affects your other health.
- Cut down on caffeine: Cutting down on caffeine can impact a couple’s ability to get pregnant.
- Using condoms during sex to prevent pregnancy and STIs will also help prevent infertility problems when you want to have children.
Infertility Test for Female and Male
Test for men
- general physical examination
- Semen Analysis: In this the semen is tested for sperm count, motility, morphological characteristics and infection.
- Genetic test: In this test, the DNA of the man is checked. In this, it is seen whether the male has this problem due to genetics or not.
- Hormone test: In this, the male’s blood is tested and the level of testosterone is checked.
Test for Women
- Ovarian Reserve Testing: In this testing, doctors try to estimate whether the woman can produce good quality eggs.
- Ovulating Testing: In this test, doctors do a blood test to find out whether a woman is ovulating or not.
- Hormone Testing: Your doctor may do a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH. High FSH can mean low fertility in women.
- Hysterosalpingography: Hysterosalpingography, or HSG, is a test that measures the internal size of your uterus to see if the fallopian tubes are blocked.
- Diagnostic Testing : Pelvic ultrasound looks for uterine or ovarian disease. It is used to look inside the uterus that is not seen on other ultrasounds.
- Depending on your condition, female infertility tests also include hysteroscopy and laparoscopy.
Infertility treatment depends on your cause like age of you and your partner, how many years you have been infertile and what is the cause of infertility.
Treatment for men
- Treating the infection: Antibiotic treatment can cure an infection of your reproductive tract.
- Making lifestyle changes: Improving your own lifestyle and certain behaviours can improve your chances of pregnancy. Reducing harmful substances like alcohol, smoking, improving the frequency and timing of your intercourse, exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, and controlling other factors can have an effect on your pregnancy.
- Surgery: For some conditions, surgery may be able to clear a sperm blockage and restore fertility. When surgery is performed when no sperm are present, sperm are often retrieved from the testicles or epididymis with sperm retrieval techniques.
- Have sex when fertilization is possible.
- Don’t use lubricants: Products like Astroglide or K-Y jelly, lotion and saliva can inhibit sperm movement and function.
- Supplement helps in increasing your male fertility such as – coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid and zinc. This supplement can increase your male fertility. But before taking any supplement, do talk to the doctor because the consumption of some supplements can also show the opposite effect.
- Sperm retrieval: This is a procedure performed on men whose sperm are retrieved for IVF/ICSI.
Treatment for Women
Once your doctor has diagnosed your female infertility and determined the cause, there are several treatment options available.
- Artificial insemination
- In vitro fertilisation
- Sperm or eggs Donor.
- Laser-assisted hatching.
- Adoption and gestational surrogacy are also options for women who want to start a family if they are unable to conceive with any treatment.
- If you have infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes, surgery may be used to clear the blockage in the tubes.
- Medicines for fertility treatment – Your doctor may ask you to take these medicines such as – clomiphene citrate, gonadotropins, metformin, letrozole and bromocriptine. If you are reading any of these bad effects of the medicine, then definitely talk to the doctor and take this medicine with the advice of the doctor.
Side effects of fertility treatments
- Changes in your mood, mood swings, anxiety and depression.
- Vomiting, headache, cramps.
- Increased risk of pregnancy loss.
- Pain in breast
- feeling of blurred vision
- Upset stomach
It is impossible to completely avoid all side effects. However, there are some things you or your doctor can do to reduce your risk.
- Some side effects can be avoided or lessened by changing the time and way you take your medicines.
- You may be advised not to have sex.
- With IVF treatment, your risk of multiples can be reduced with single embryo transfer.
- Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about alternatives if you notice any other side effects.
What is the best diet for infertility?
Does every infertile couple have a question in their mind can eating foods really increase their fertility or not? The answer is yes. Improving diet and lifestyle has a significant impact on the reproductive health of both women and men.
- Beans and lentils
- Mustard seeds
- Greek yogurt and cheese
- Egg yolk
- Olive oil
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants
- Eat more fiber
- Take a multivitamin
What is the natural treatment for infertility?
- Ashwagandha is one of the effective herbal remedies for infertility. It improves blood circulation in your body and enhances the quality of sperm.
- Red raspberry leaf is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium and many more, and also helps in prolonging the luteal phase and uterus during pregnancy.
- According to research, the benefits of nettle tea are seen during a woman’s pregnancy, but it is also beneficial for fertility.
It is usually possible to identify the aetiology of infertility after one year of unprotected intercourse on the basis of history and physical examination. When patients fail to respond to initial treatments, they should be referred to a fertility specialist.
Natural fertility is when a person is able to conceive or carry a pregnancy. It is a condition of the reproductive system that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant.
In fact, it depends on many factors. Vitamin D deficiency is likely to cause infertility in many women.
Due to the imbalance of more certain hormones, the egg is not formed in the woman.
Yes, stress can cause infertility, but stress alone is not the reason behind it.
- Changes in your menstrual cycle – Infrequent or irregular periods can indicate ovulation problems.
- Pelvic pain – can be a symptom of an infection or endometriosis.
- Heavy or painful periods – can be a symptom of fibroids or endometriosis in the womb, when tissue similar to the womb lining grows elsewhere in the body.
- Sperm quality declines with age, which is a symptom of secondary infertility.
- Low testosterone levels and poor sperm quality are associated with obesity and weight gain.
- prostate problems
- You may not be able to produce sperm if you have large veins in your testicles.