The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant or for men, to get a woman pregnant. Whichever it is, infertility is a huge problem and one that gives a lot of people sleepless nights. Women who can conceive but are unable to get and stay pregnant may also be termed infertile.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
The prevalence of infertility varies. In developed countries, the prevalence of infertility ranges from 5-8%. In 2011, an infertility survey done in the Philippines showed that 10% of Filipino couples suffer from infertility.
Men and women are both at risk of having fertility problems. In about one-third of such cases, both partners have medical issues, or doctors can’t seem to pinpoint the cause of infertility.
Women are reproductive in their 20s. Gradually, fertility declines in the 30s, particularly after age 35. For men, a decrease in sperm occurs much later. Sperm quality decreases as men get older, but it usually does not become a problem until a man is in his 60s.
Common fertility problems for men include:
It’s the inability to get or maintain an erection sufficient during foreplay and sex.
• Ejaculation problems
It involves ejaculating just minutes into sex and when semen enters the bladder instead of emerging through the penis.
Prostatectomy is the removal of all or some of the prostate gland surgically. The side effects of the surgical removal of the prostate gland, include impotence, infertility, and incontinence.
• Problems with the testicles
This is usually caused by injury, infection, and in rare cases, chemotherapy.
Other conditions that can cause erection and ejaculation issues include multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Infertility issues for women include:
• Uterine or cervical problems
Small tumors in the uterine wall (uterine fibroids) can cause infertility.
• Ovulation irregularities
These disorders affect the release of eggs from the ovaries and include hormonal disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome.
This is a condition in which you have too much prolactin (a hormone that stimulates breast milk production). Other causes may be rigorous exercise, eating disorders, injuries, or tumors.
• Fallopian tube abnormality
Often caused by inflammation of the Fallopian tube, this can be as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually caused by STIs or endometriosis.
This may affect the function of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
• Early menopause
This is when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40. Radiation or chemotherapy treatment and smoking are some of what causes this.
Other causes in women include:
• Cancer and its remedy
Some cancers — especially female reproductive cancers — often severely affect female fertility. Cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy may affect fertility.
Medical conditions as a result of late puberty or amenorrhea, such as celiac disease, diabetes can also affect a woman’s fertility.
Please note: Women who are overweight are more likely to have irregular periods and ovulation. On the other hand, underweight women can also have these problems as their reproductive systems can shut down completely. Men are not left out, as men who are obese can have lower-quality sperm or Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Of course, with the help of a specialist, these fertility problems can be controlled and with time, may be cured.