Why does infertility occur in men and women? What is the diagnosis?

Know how male/female infertility will be diagnosed, told by renowned physician Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Infertility Specialist cum Director Women’s Hospital and Fertility Research Center Kankarbagh Patna

Causes of infertility can include ovulation disorders, endometriosis, low sperm count, or low testosterone. The risk of infertility increases with age. There are many treatment options available for people suffering from infertility.

What is infertility?

Difficulty conceiving refers to the persistent inability to get pregnant over a long period. About 1 in 6 people worldwide face this challenge. A variety of problems, such as poor ovulation, low sperm quality, or blockage in the fallopian tubes can cause infertility.

How common is infertility?

As women reach their mid-30s, the chances of infertility increase. About 20% of women in their mid-30s face difficulties during pregnancy, while for those over forty, the chances increase to 67%.

What are the causes of infertility?

Most common causes of infertility in women

Ovulation problems
When ovulation is adversely affected, the ovaries do not regularly produce an egg that can be fertilized.

Fallopian tube problems
In this case, the egg is unable to move through the fallopian tubes and reach the uterus for conception, resulting in infertility.

The tissue normally found within the uterus migrates to areas outside. Also, the formation of scar tissue and inflammation within the fallopian tubes can complicate pregnancy.

Environmental factors
Various environmental factors, including exposure to chemicals and radiation, can also cause infertility. Infertility can also be caused by stress and lifestyle-related disorders.

The most common causes of infertility in men

Low sperm count
In cases where men have a low sperm count, the semen lacks enough sperm to facilitate fertilization after ejaculation. This condition can be a result of obesity, medication, genetics, testicle trauma, etc.

Poor sperm motility
The low motility of the sperm hinders its ability to reach the egg. After ejaculation, it cannot swim well enough towards the egg to initiate fertilization.

Sperm morphology problems
An abnormal shape or size of the sperm points to a possible defect, which can reduce fertility. The appearance of such sperm under the microscope usually does not correspond to the shape and size of regular sperm.

Is infertility treatment possible?
The solution may not be straightforward. Infertility treatment may vary from case to case. Some fertility problems are curable. For example, surgical intervention may be able to open the fallopian tubes and alleviate fertility difficulties. However, there is no effective treatment for hereditary fertility problems.

A medical evaluation will determine if there are any viable options to address infertility. The doctor will collect data points from your medical history. A physical examination and relevant tests may be conducted. Upon studying your condition in depth, the doctor can provide additional information about the possibility of natural pregnancy and whether suitable treatment options are available.

Treatment options for infertility
Infertility treatment may depend on the causes of infertility. Some common treatment options include:

Medications to help ovulation
The most commonly prescribed ovulation medications are clomiphene citrate (CC), aromatase inhibitors (such as letrozole) and gonadotropins (FSH, LH, human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG), chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)). These medications can help normalize ovulation in women experiencing irregular menstrual cycles.

Surgery to correct structural problems
Surgical methods may be employed to address issues of fallopian tube function, uterine polyp removal, and other physical obstacles that hinder fertility.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
A range of ART procedures can help achieve pregnancy despite previous difficulties. These ART procedures include IUI, IVF, and GIFT.

The effectiveness of fertility treatments depends on the infertility issues. Compared to alternative methods, ART generally gives better results. After analyzing the specific conditions of the people involved, the most appropriate therapy can be selected. Couples trying to conceive should collaborate with their healthcare provider and choose the optimal remedy for their situation.