Infertility is the inability to conceive after at least one year of regular sexual intercourse. If a woman has never been pregnant before, she will be diagnosed with primary infertility. If a woman has had at least one successful pregnancy in the past, she will be diagnosed with secondary infertility.
Both men and women are equally likely to encounter infertility problems. So, what are the causes of infertility?
Causes of Male Infertility
- Sperm count and mobility: When a man has a low sperm count, he ejaculates a low number of sperm which causes difficulties in conceiving. Low sperm mobility also reduces the chances of successful conception. It occurs where the sperm cannot ‘swim’ as required to reach the egg. The sperm may also have an unusual shape making it hard to swim accurately towards the egg and fertilize it.
- Genetic Defects: Normally a man should have an X and Y chromosome. If it occurs that he has two X chromosomes and one Y, the testicles will develop abnormally. This leads to low testosterone and a low sperm count altogether.
- Environmental disruptors: Too much exposure to certain environmental factors may increase the risk of infertility. For example, excess cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and anabolic steroids. Overexposure to heat such as in saunas may also affect sperm production.
- Sexual problems: Certain problems affect the delivery of the sperm to the egg for fertilization. Problems such as premature ejaculation, Cystic fibrosis and testicular blockage may cause infertility in males.
- Medication and treatments: Damage related to cancer and their treatments, including radiation or chemotherapy add to the risk of infertility. Cancer treatment can impair sperm production, sometimes severely.
Causes of Female Infertility
- Ovulatory Disorders: These are disorders that affect the release of eggs from the ovary. They include polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder and Hyperprolactinemia, a condition where you have too much prolactin. Having too much thyroid or too little may also affect ovulation causing infertility.
- Tubal Blockage: Tubal Blockage is often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tubes. It results from a pelvic inflammatory disease, which is normally caused by a sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis or adhesions.
- Endometriosis: It occurs where cells that normally occur within the uterus lining grow elsewhere in the body affecting the function of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
- Pelvic Adhesions: Pelvic surgery can cause scarring or damage to the fallopian tubes. Cervical surgery may also cause scarring or shortening of the cervix.
- Medications and Treatments: Long term use of some drugs such as ibuprofen may affect fertility in women. Treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy may increase the risk of infertility.
A rise in the numbers of infertility rates has forced many to seek medical assistance. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used successfully for a long time to treat infertility. Read our blog or reach out to us at 07 846 7956 for more on TCM and acupuncture treatment for infertility.
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J.S.Schulman (2019) Everything You Need to Know About Infertility. Retrieved fromhttps://www.healthline.com/health/fertility
Yvette Brazier (2018) Infertility in Men and Women. Retrieved fromhttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165748
Mayo Clinic Infertility- Symptoms and Causes (2019) Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/symptomps-causes/syc-20354317