Many adults plan to have children, and they may even make extensive plans like budgeting and buying property with the hope of someday raising a family. However, fertility issues can make bearing children more difficult for some adults. The Mayo Clinic reports that as many as 15% of couples are infertile.
Infertility is defined as being unable to get pregnant after at least a year, even when having frequent intercourse without birth control. There may be no other signs or symptoms that you would have trouble getting pregnant. Infertility can affect men and women, and in some couples, one or both adults may be infertile.
The term “infertility” can scare some people, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to have children. With effective treatment, many adults can become fertile and have a baby. Take a look below at the most common causes and treatments for infertility.
What Causes Infertility?
Before you know what causes infertility, it’s important to know what causes successful fertilization. To get pregnant, a series of steps must happen successfully, including ovulation and implantation. After intercourse, sperm must meet an egg in one of the woman’s fallopian tubes to create a zygote. The zygote will need to travel down the fallopian tubes to reach the uterus. Finally, it must burrow successfully into the lining of the uterus, where it will form into a fetus, then a baby will develop.
Problems during any steps of this process may make couples unable to get pregnant. Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible for doctors to predict all causes of infertility. Both men and women can have fertility issues, each of which has different causes due to the differences between sex organs. Fertility problems in men include:
● Problems with sperm production: Low sperm count, enlarged veins in the testes, blockage in either testicle, and undescended testicles may affect the ability to produce healthy sperm. Injuries to the sex organs may also affect sperm production.
● Sexual problems: Issues with intercourse like premature or delayed ejaculation can interfere with healthy sperm delivery.
● Genetic defects: For reasons that can be difficult to identify or predict, many men have semen that’s incapable of fertilizing a woman's egg.
Fertility problems exclusive to female sex organs include:
● Ovulation disorders: Disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome, excessive prolactin, and imbalanced thyroid hormone can interfere with healthy ovulation.
● Uterine disorders: Uterine polyps, blockage, and endometriosis are some uterine problems that may cause infertility.
● Fallopian disorders: Inflammation or blockage of fallopian tubes may also cause female infertility.
● Early menopause: Many women may experience symptoms of menopause before age 40. Early menopause can stop menstruation and cause infertility.
Causes of fertility problems in both men and women include:
● Cancer treatment: A side effect of some cancers and their treatments, like chemotherapy, can cause infertility in both men and women.
● Use of certain drugs: Drugs, alcohol, and some medications can interfere with fertility.
● Unhealthy weight: Very underweight or overweight people may have fertility problems.
● Sexually Transmitted Infections: Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other STIs can obstruct fertility.
Thankfully, there is hope for many adults with fertility issues. If you’re concerned about your fertility or have had trouble bearing children, talk to a doctor about your options. Common treatments for infertility include:
● Medication: Some prescription drugs can increase fertility for both men and women.
● Surgeries: Surgery to correct problems with the sex organs, like varicose veins and pelvic scarring, may treat infertility.
● Assisted Conception: Injection of sperm into the uterus (IUI), injecting sperm into an egg (ICSI), and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help couples conceive.
For some adults, though, infertility may not be treatable. Many people decide to choose alternatives for raising a family, including adoption or surrogacy. However, the best way to understand all of your options is to see a fertility doctor. Call BASS Medical Group today at (925) 350-4044 to discuss your concerns and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists in Walnut Creek, CA.