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Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Causes Infertility?

Infertility is the biological or psychological inability of a couple to conceive after repeatedly having unprotected sexual intercourse (while no other form of birth control is being used) for a period of time, usually twelve months or more.  Infertility also refers to a woman’s inability to carry a pregnancy to full term. There are many reasons for infertility.  Studies show that female conditions account for over two thirds of the cases of infertility. The rest are caused by sperm irregularity and other unidentifiable factors.
So what causes infertility in women? Most cases of infertility are caused by hormonal deficiencies or imbalances, structural problems in the reproductive organs and some illnesses. Mechanical trauma and chemical disturbances from surgeries and potent medications can also negatively affect a woman’s fertility.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is probably the most common cause of female infertility in the world. It is an infection of the reproductive organs and the pelvis in general. The inflammation and trauma to the organs can affect their structural integrity, making conception difficult. Moreover, the prolonged exposure to microorganisms and the scarring that result after the infection may cause blood poisoning and ectopic pregnancy. 

Problems related to the adrenal gland and thyroid deficiencies may cause ovarian and hormonal problems. Any problem with the two organs can increase the production of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk and prevents ovulation. High levels of prolactin in the body not only cause difficulty in conceiving but may also indicate a pituitary tumor.
Scarred tissues left after abdominal or vaginal surgeries may also impair conception. The traumatized areas may cause problems with regards to the movement of egg cells from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes and the uterus. Frequent abortions also leave scar tissues that can obstruct the uterus, leaving the egg cell and the sperm unable to meet.
Some medications such antibiotics, antidepressants and anti-inflammatory agents can impair infertility. Indirectly, these drugs can decrease estrogen and luteinizing hormones in the body which are needed for the maturation and release of mature egg cell.        
So, what causes infertility in males? The most common factors contributing to male infertility are associated with sperm and its characteristics. Either the sperm count is too low or the sperm is low quality. Sperm cells made of poor quality move slowly or swim in the wrong direction. The cells may be abnormally-shaped, making transportation difficult. There are a lot things that can contribute to the production of poor-quality sperm cells, such as the failure of the testes to develop and properly descend.  These two conditions may be congenital, meaning the testes remain within the body cavity. The chronic exposure to metals and medications can also impair the release of potent sperm cells from the body. The chemicals can alter the molecular and physical structure of the cells, making movement and conception difficult.
As to the question ’what causes infertility,’ there are many answers.  The problem cannot be pinned to either men or women as it is an issue than can affect both sexes.  If you or your partner are unfortunate enough to receive an infertility diagnosis, don’t lose heart.  There are many conservative and natural treatments to help remedy fertility issues today.        

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