Infertility: Risk Factor, Diagnosis and Treatment

Overview

Generally, infertility refers to the inability of a person gets pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. Infertility is not always a woman’s problem. Both men and women can contribute to infertility. In some cases, a combination of several factors also can interfere with pregnancy.

In America, about 6% of married women at the age of 15 to 44 are infertile. In about 35% of couples with infertility, both men and women have problems. In about 8% of couples with infertility, only men have problem.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes of Male Infertility

  • Varicoceles.
  • Trauma to the testes.
  • Heavy alcohol use, smoking, anabolic steroid use, and illicit drug use.
  • Certain treatment that remove one or both testicles.
  • Certain types of autoimmune disorders or infections, such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis.
  • Overexposure to pesticides and other chemicals, and radiation.
  • Improper function of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands.
  • Benign and malignant (cancerous) pituitary tumors, congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
  • Genetic factors such as a Klinefelter’s syndrome, Y-chromosome microdeletion, myotonic dystrophy. They may cause no sperm to be produced, or low numbers of sperm to be produced.
  • Frequent exposure of the testes to high temperatures, such as frequent sauna or hot tub use.

Causes of Female Infertility

Women need functioning ovaries, fallopian tubes, and a uterus to get pregnant. Conditions affecting any one of these organs can lead to female infertility.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).
  • Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA).
  • Improper function of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).
  • Menopause.
  • Fallopian tube obstruction that may be caused by a history of pelvic infection, ruptured appendicitis, gonorrhea or chlamydia, endometriosis, or abdominal surgery.
  • Abnormal uterine contour.

Common Risk Factors for Both Male and Female Infertility

  • Age.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Overweight or underweight.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Excessive physical or emotional stress.

Diagnosis

Before some tests of infertility, doctors may ask some questions to know your sexual habits. Then you may need have some tests.

Tests for Men

  • Semen analysis.
  • Hormone testing.
  • Genetic testing.
  • Testicular biopsy.
  • Imaging: such as a brain MRI, bone mineral density scan, transrectal or scrotal ultrasound, or a test of the vas deferens (vasography) may be performed.
  • Other specialty testing: such as evaluating a semen specimen for DNA abnormalities.

Tests for Women

  • Ovulation testing.
  • Hysterosalpingography.
  • Ovarian reserve testing.
  • Other hormone testing.
  • Imaging tests: such as pelvic ultrasound or a hysterosonography.
  • Hysteroscopy.
  • Laparoscopy.
  • Genetic testing.

Treatment

Infertility treatment mainly depends on the causes of infertility, the duration of the infertility, the age of patients and personal preferences. Some causes of infertility can’t be treated. Others can be treated by some drugs or assisted reproductive technology.

Treatment for men

  • Change life styles: such as stopping using some drugs, reducing the exposure to harmful substances, improving frequency and timing of intercourse, and getting regular exercise.
  • Use some medications to increase testicular function, including those that can increase sperm production and quality.
  • Surgery: Usually for reversing a sperm blockage and repairing a varicocele.
  • Sperm retrieval.

Treatment for women

  • Stimulating ovulation with fertility drugs.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI).
  • Surgery: Usually for uterine problems such as endometrial polyps, a uterine septum.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination which is a procedure for treating infertility. In this procedure, prepared sperm are inserted into the woman’s uterus to get a normal pregnancy.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART)

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a fertility treatment in which the egg and sperm are handled. The common type of ART is in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves removing multiple mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining the eggs with sperm in the lab, and implanting the embryos in the uterus three to five days after fertilization.

Success rates on ART

Many factors influence the success rates, the most important one is the age of women. According to the data from CDC, success rates on ART are:

  • 31% in women younger than 35 years of age.
  • 24% in women aged 35 to 37 years.
  • 16% in women aged 38 to 40 years.
  • 8% in women aged 41 to 42 years.
  • 3% in women aged 43 to 44 years.
  • 3% in women older than 44 years of age.

Complications of treatment

Multiple pregnancy.

This is the most common complication of multiple pregnancy — twins, triplets or more. This increases the risk of premature labor and delivery. In addition, problems during pregnancy can be more, such as gestational diabetes.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Fertility medications to induce ovulation can cause OHSS. This makes the ovaries become swollen and painful. Its symptoms may last for a week or longer if you get pregnant.

Bleeding or infection.

This is a rare risk associated with any invasive procedure.

Please go to see a doctor if you have any problem.

Keywords: infertility; male infertility; female infertility.

Related Posts:

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications and Prevention

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Risk Factors, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies and Complications

What are the Causes of PCOS Infertility?

What are Treatments for PCOS Infertility?

What are the Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis in Aults?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.