Infertility is the inability to conceive children. You are considered infertile if you have been trying to conceive for at least 1 year without success.
The causes of infertility include disease and aging. There are many causes for infertility in men and women. One-third of infertility cases are related to the man. Only one-third of infertility cases are related to the woman alone. While the remaining one-third is a combination of fertility factors that are related to both partners or unknown causes.
In order to get your partner pregnant, the male has to be able to produce healthy and enough number of sperm, the sperm needs to be carried into the semen, and the sperm has to be functional and able to move and reach your partner’s egg.
The most common causes of male infertility are when there are no sperm cells produced (azoospermia) and when there are only few sperm cells produced (oligospermia). A low sperm count is when the male produce fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
In order to test male fertility, a semen analysis (also known as sperm count test) is usually the most common procedure to analyze the following:
- number of sperm
- shape of sperm
- movement of sperm (sperm motility)
If the sperm count turns out to be low, a blood test may be ordered by the fertility specialist to test the level of testosterone, FSH, LH, and proclatin. There are supplements that can improve low sperm count or sperm motility issues.
The most common causes of female infertility are problems related to ovulation, issues with fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix. Infertility also naturally declines with woman’s age.
There are several tests to evaluate fertility in women:
- Pelvic exam & breast exam
- Urine & Blood test
- Ultrasound to check uterus and ovaries
- Laparoscopy procedure to check the conditions of uterus and ovaries; look for blockage or adhesions or scar tissues
- HSG (Hysterosalpingography) ; an x-ray test to look at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and area around them
Can you treat infertility?
Most infertility cases are treated with conventional therapies such as drug / hormone treatment or surgical repair of the reproductive organs. The remaining treatment options include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).