Infertility affects men and women equally
Monday, March 16, 2020
Infertility is when the reproductive system is impaired and the body is unable to perform the basic function of reproduction.
In couples experiencing infertility, approximately 35% is due to male factors, 35% is due to female factors, 20% of cases have a combination of both male and female factors, and the last 10% are unexplained causes. For infertility with an unknown cause, all findings from standard tests may be normal. The actual cause of infertility may not be detected because the problem may be with the egg or sperm itself or with the embryo and its inability to implant.
For this reason, it is imperative that both the male and female are evaluated during the infertility work-up.
– Fertility declines with age in both men and women, but the effects of age are much greater in women. In their 30s, women are about half as fertile as they are in their early 20s, and women’s chance of conception declines significantly after age 35.6 Male fertility also declines with age, but more gradually.
– Inadequate diet associated with extreme weight loss or gain. It is possible for women and men with body weight disorders to reverse their infertility by attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
– Life style can also contribute to infertility, such as smoking, contact with carcinogens, and exposure of the genitals to extreme heat.
– Exercise should be encouraged as part of normal activities. However, too much exercise is dangerous, especially for long-distance runners. For women, it may result in disruption of the ovulation cycle, cause no menstrual periods, or result in miscarriages (loss of pregnancy). In men, excessive exercise may cause a low sperm count.
– For women, the most common cause of infertility factor is an ovulation disorder. Other causes of female infertility include blocked Fallopian tubes, which can occur when a woman has had pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis (a sometimes painful condition causing adhesions and cysts). Congenital anomalies involving the structure of the uterus or uterine fibroids may cause repeated miscarriages.
For men, the most common cause of infertility is with the sperm. Either no sperm cells are produced or few are produced. Sperm also can be defective or die before they reach the egg.
– Most infertility cases are treated with lifestyle change, medication, and/or surgery. Other patients must undergo assisted reproduction technologies such as IUI or IVF in order to achieve a successful pregnancy.