The proper medical definition of infertility is the inability to achieve successful conception after an entire year of trying. After the age of 35, it generally takes approximately half a year of trying to conceive without success to determine if there is infertility. Another definition involves the inability to carry a pregnancy to its full term.
Ten percent of women, in the USA, are not able to bare a child or carry one full term. Infertility is not a problem affecting women alone, which may be contrary to common beliefs. It is caused by a variety of factors that affect both men and women.
Male infertility has a variety of causes. A possible cause is the presence of too much heat in the testicles reducing sperm count, which can be caused by increased size of testicular veins that result from a condition called varicocele. There could also be an injury or other damage to the man’s reproductive system. An injury could significantly interfere with the sperm flow or even cause a complete blockage. One may either be born with these causes or acquire them during one’s life. Cystic fibrosis is a good example.
Ovulation related issues can lead to female infertility. Woman suffering from these types of conditions are oftentimes not able to produce eggs that they need to conceive. A female will typically realize that she has problems ovulating when her periods are not regular or she doesn’t menstruate at all. Ovulation problems may be the result of PCOS, which causes a hormonal imbalance throughout the entire reproductive system. Women may stop ovulating before age 40 due to primary ovarian insufficiency. Infertility can also be caused by fibroids growing in the uterus and problems with the fallopian tubes, among other things.
There is a wide range of infertility treatments that can be accessed at a reproductive center. One of these assisted reproductive technologies include in vitro fertilization or IVF which involves fertilization outside the woman’s body. Fertilization in a glass is another name for it. This is a laboratory procedure in which sperm is introduced to an egg in a petri dish. Once fertilized, the embryo is transferred into the woman’s womb. This infertility treatment procedure has been quite effective over the years since it was first performed in 1978.
Other methods include gamete intrafallopian transfer or GIFT in which the eggs and sperm are directly transferred into the woman’s fallopian tubes for internal fertilization. A couple with fertility problems can also decide to use the surrogacy option where another woman decides to bear the pregnancy on their behalf.
With the successful technologies in reproductive medicine and the various options available at a reproductive center for couples who have been trying to have children but have been unsuccessful on their own, there isn’t any reason anymore for any couple to turn away from on their desire to have a family.