Definition of İnfertility 

Infertility generally refers to the inability to conceive/procreate/reproduce. In other words infertility means one can not reproduce. However there are many definitions of infertility that differ a lot. A person who can not conceive is called Infertile. Both males and females can be Infertile.

It is further of two types :

  • Primary Infertility : Inability to conceive a baby when couple has never had a Child or conceived before.
  • Secondary Infertility : Inability to get pregnant next time after the couple already have conceived a child before (at least once).


Causes of İnfertility


There are many causes of Infertility. Some of these causes are common to both sexes and some are different in each sex. Next we describe Male and Female Infertility Causes separately.

Male Infertility : It is caused when due to some reason male sperm count has become low, or sperms are unable to travel out of testes through reproductive system, or the sperms formed are defective. It can be caused by :

  • Being in high temperatures for long time. Specially of sperm forming region (Testes)
  • Congenital Abnormality (defect by birth)
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Infection
  • Drug abuse
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Surgery, Injury or Sexually transmitted diseases can cause Male Infertility
  • Obesity
  • Old Age
  • Retrograde Ejaculation (semen not coming out and going in backwards direction to the bladder)
  • Smoking
  • Hormone Abnormality
  • Vasectomy (surgically rendering male infertile which is reversible) or failure of Vasectomy reversal.


Female Infertility : A female may become infertile when a fertilized egg or embryo does not attach to the wall of Uterus of dies after attachment/implantation, or there is problem in the movement of eggs from ovary to the Uterus, or there is abnormality in production of eggs in the Ovaries. It can be caused by :

  • Congenital Abnormality (defect by birth)
  • Cancer or Tumor of Reproductive System
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive exercise
  • Clotting disorders
  • Drug Abuse
  • Poor nutrition
  • Old Age
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Pelvic infections
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Surgery, Trauma or Sexually Transmitted Diseases leading to Injury of Reproductive System
  • Thyroid disease
  • Hormone Abnormality


Signs and symptoms of Infertility

Signs and Symptoms of Infertility differ among both sexes.

Male Infertility :

  • Changes in skin, mostly increased acne
  • Changes in male sex desire and sex drive
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Growth of dark hair on chest, chin or lips
  • Increase in weight
  • Discharge of milk like fluid from nipples
  • Painful Sex

Female Infertility :

  • Abnormal periods with excessive bleeding
  • Irregular Period which occur at irregular time intervals
  • Painful Periods resulting from infection or inflammation of pelvis
  • No periods in a women from start or sudden stoppage of periods


Risk Factors For Infertility

Males and Females share almost all of the risk factors which can lead to Infertility. They are as follows :

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Use
  • Obesity
  • Being Underweight or Malnutrition
  • A too little or too much Exercise


Diagnosis of Infertility

Diagnosis of Male and Female Infertility are done using different laboratory and clinical examination as follows.

Male Infertility :

  • Semen analysis is done to check health of male Sperms.
  • Genetic testing is done to determine any genetic abnormality in Reproductive System.
  • Hormone testing is also performed to determine whether hormones level are at a normal level.
  • Finally ultrasound can be used Transrectally or on Scrotum. It shows if there is any morphological defect in Reproductive System.


Female Infertility :

  • A blood test is performed to determine whether female is ovulating properly or not.
  • Hysterosalpingography is a technique of injecting radiopaque dyes inside the uterus and fallopian tubes and then viewing these structures using X-rays. It can reveal any physical abnormality in Female Reproductive Tract.
  • Hormone testing of several types can be done to confirm any abnormality in eggs, or other hormones in the body such as Thyroid or Pituitary Hormones which are required for normal Fertility.
  • Other techniques involve use of Ultrasound (Hysterosonography) or Hysteroscopy or other imaging devices to view Female Reproductive System.
  • Genetic Testing can also be done to rule out any genetic cause.


Prevention from Infertility


Although several types of Infertility can not be prevented, however there are some which can be avoided if proper steps are taken. Such steps in both sexes are given below.

Male Infertility :

  • Avoid smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Males should avoid high temperatures especially around pelvic region as it results in sperm abnormality. High temperatures are often applied in the form of Steam Baths, Laptop use, or Hot Water Tubs etc.
  • Avoid excessive and unprescribed use of drugs as they can cause Infertility.
  • Reduce exposure to pollution and environmental as well as industrial toxins as much as possible.


Female Infertility :

  • Perform exercise but to a moderate limit. It can damage the Reproductive System.
  • Avoid gaining weight or excessive dieting.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol intake as soon as you decide to get pregnant. Also limit caffeine and stop taking other narcotic drugs.
  • Avoid using medicine without prescription and always keep your doctor informed about your decision of getting pregnant or ongoing pregnancy.


Treatments of İnfertility

There are several treatments for both men and women available to treat Infertility. However it should be noted that not all the types can be cured.

Male Infertility :

  • Impotence and Premature Ejaculation can be treated with medication or exercises etc which leads to better semen production and ejaculation.
  • Surgery can be performed in people with defects in Reproductive System. Some defects can also be cured using Hormones. Its results are positive in people lacking healthy sperm.
  • If there is problem in ejaculation or sperm movement, surgery can be performed to directly obtain the sperm from Testes. Otherwise electric and vibratory stimulation can be used to achieve ejaculation.


Female Infertility :

  • Several Medications and Hormone therapies are used to correct female reproductive cycle or to induce Ovulation.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a method in which healthy sperms obtained and concentrated are used directly to fertilize eggs in the Uterus at the time of Ovulation.
  • If there are morphological defects like Uterine Septum, Endometrial Polyps, or scar tissue etc. it can be corrected using surgical methods.