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Female Infertility: When Conceiving Becomes An Issue

couples, as they fear that their biggest dream – to have a baby – will remain just a dream. Couples are usually evaluated for infertility if pregnancy doesn’t even after one year of unprotected sex. Difficulty in conceiving can be due to male infertility (33% chances), female infertility (33% chances) or problems in both the partners (33% chances).

Male Infertility

Infertility in men can be caused due to conditions like varicocele (abnormal enlargement of the scrotum), low or absent sperm count, sperm damage and certain diseases/ disorders. The risk factors for male infertility include smoking, alcohol, increased age, medical problems, certain medications and treatment modes like radiation and chemotherapy.

Infertility in men can evaluated through semen analysis, which includes evaluating the number of sperms (concentration), motility (movement) and morphology (shape). A slightly abnormality in semen analysis does not mean that the man is infertile. The analysis helps determine as to what factors are contributing to infertility.

Female Infertility

Pregnancy is an amazing process in itself, wherein a life begins to grow in the woman’s womb. For this to happen:
1. An egg from one of the ovaries should be released (ovulation).
2. There should be a sperm join the egg (fertilise).
3. The fertilised egg must travel through the fallopian tube into the uterus (womb).
4. The fertilised egg should attach on the inside of the uterus (implantation).

When there is a problem with one of these steps, the pregnancy does not happen, which in turn is termed infertility after a prescribed period.

Women should ideally undergo an infertility screening if they are not able to conceive even after a year of unprotected sex and have the following issues:
Menstrual cycle is not regular
Above 35 years of age
Have had recurrent pregnancy loss (more than two spontaneous miscarriages)

Causes Of Female Infertility
The most common reasons for female infertility include:
Issues with ovulation
Damage in the fallopian tubes or uterus
Endocrinological disorders like poly cystic ovarian disease
Gynaecological disorders like endometriosis
Problems with the cervix
Poor diet
Age factor (number of eggs start decreasing and so does the chances of pregnancy)

Ovulation disorders can be caused due to:
Hormone imbalance
Tumour or cysts
Thyroid gland problems
Excessive body weight
Intense exercise that leads to excess loss of body fat
Extreme tress
Brief menstrual cycle
Alcohol consumption

Damage in the fallopian tubes or uterus can be caused due to:
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Polyps in the uterus
Scar tissue/ adhesions
Uterine fibroids
Previous ectopic or tubal pregnancy
Previous infection in the uterus/ cervix
Congenital defects in the uterus
Abnormal cervical mucus (prevents the sperm from reaching the egg)
Serious medical conditions

Female Infertility: Diagnosis

Infertility issues in women assessed through physical examination, radiological investigations and specific infertility tests including:

Urine or blood test to check for possible infections/ hormone problems
Pelvic examination
Breast examination
Sample of cervical mucus and tissue to determine ovulation
Laparoscopic diagnosis for blockage/ adhesions/ scar tissue
Hysteroscopy t to look for uterine abnormalities
Ultrasound to check the uterus and ovaries (vaginally or abdominal)
Tracking your ovulation/ ovulation scan

How is female infertility treated?
Hormonal treatment to manage imbalances/ endometriosis/ short menstrual cycle
Medications that stimulate ovulation
Enhancing fertility using supplements
Surgical rectification of issues that are causing the infertility
Infertility: Prevention

Though infertility cannot be prevented, the chances can be decreased by:
Adopting good intimate hygiene habits
Doing annual check-ups to rule out gynaecological problems
Take steps to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
Avoid drinking

For more details on management of infertility, click:

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