Being Infertile or not having a baby is a great problem. Approximately thirty five percent of couples in Nigeria are consulting fertility centers for this problem. Half of these couples are successful in their attempts.
Meanwhile, fifty percent of infertility cases are due to males. But, usually, the causes are focused towards a woman and it is not a correct perception. Both males and females may be equally responsible for this problem. So, while coming for treatment this fact should also be kept in mind. It is better that first the male should be put to the test, and afterward, the tests should be performed on the woman.
Causes of Infertility:
This problem may have more than one cause. There may be a group of factors contributing to infertility. We are discussing below the causes of infertility in men and women separately.
Infertility in Men:
- Defective Semen:
Many problems are associated with semen. Sperm production may be abnormal due to genetic defects, diabetes, mumps, and gonorrhea. If the veins in the testicles are enlarged, it can also hamper with the quality of the sperm.
Spermatozoa May Be Defective In A Number Of Ways.
- Spermatozoa may be smaller in number, or these may be totally absent. The quality of sperm may also be below the standard.
- Their life may be less than the normal, or these may be dead also.
- Their movements or speed may be slower than required to reach the egg to fertilize it.
- There may be some problems with sperm-carrying tubes.
2. Erectile Dysfunctions:
- There may be a problem in getting an erection.
- There may be a problem with ejaculation.
3. Defective Testicles:
- The testicles may be inflamed.
- Some previous treatments, like radiotherapy and surgery, may have caused the abnormality.
4. Damaged Sperm Ducts:
- Pathway of sperm from the testicles to the penis may be blocked. Due to this, sperm cannot reach the penis and ejaculate. A genetic problem or developmental disorder may block one or both tubes. One or both tubes may be totally absent due to this problem. Some previous infections might have caused scarring and blocking of the tubes.
- A vasectomy (an elective or accidental) may discontinue the tube continuity.
5. Retrograde Ejaculation:
- In this case, semen is not ejaculated out through urethra but it is poured into the bladder due to non-closure of bladder sphincter. In this problem, ejaculated volume of sperm is very small. Sperm is mixed with the urine and the urine becomes cloudy.
- Obesity or overweight.
- Any kind of contact with chemicals or radiations.
- Smoking decreases sperm counts.
- Continued use of marijuana and other “time-increasing” drugs.
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Intense exercise: It produces excessive adrenal steroid hormones. This causes a deficiency in testosterone, which results in infertility.
- Imbalanced intake of Vitamin C and Zinc in the diet.
- Tight underwear: It increases the scrotal temperature, which minimizes the production of sperm.
- Malnutrition and anemia.
- Increased stress.
By changing the lifestyle and modifying behaviors, man’s fertility can be improved. Couples who are trying to get pregnant should also give a consideration to the above-stated factors.
Infertility in Women
- No Ovulation:
In this case, women are unable to produce eggs.
- Blocked Fallopian Tubes:
In this case, one or both Fallopian tubes may be blocked, restricting the sperm to enter into it. Some previous infections may also be a cause of this.
- Uterine Cysts:
In this case, there is a non-cancerous (benign) tumor in the uterus. Its size may be equal to small bean and as large as a melon.
It may also be one of the causes of infertility. As a woman gets older her fertility tends to decrease. This is a natural phenomenon.
Other Common Factors
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Eating disorders: anorexia or bulimia.
- Intensive exercise: it may cause excessive loss of body fats.
- Pelvic inflammation.
- Extremely short menstrual periods.
- Alcohol or drug use.
- The problem of Thyroid Gland.
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