Our aim is to provide you with accurate, easy to understand
information and advice on infertility and fertility treatments.
Infertility affects about 10 percent of the population, men and
women equally. Fortunately, most infertility cases can be treated
successfully with conventional medical fertility therapies including
medication or surgery.
Infertility can be considered a disease like any other and is defined
as a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the conception
of children. The process of producing a child is very complicated
and it is a surprise that infertility is not more common.
Fertility relies on many factors including:
- Production of healthy sperm by the man
- Production of healthy eggs by the woman
- Unblocked fallopian tubes to allow the sperm to reach the egg
- Sperm's ability to fertilize the egg when they meet in the
- The ability of the fertilised egg, called an embryo, to become
implanted in the woman's uterus
- Quality of the embryo
- Adequate hormonal environment in the woman
If just one of these factors is missing then infertility can occur.
What causes infertility?
No one should be blamed for infertility. Just like any other medical
condition infertility can be emotionally hard to cope with, although
there are lots of organizations out there to help you.
The most common infertility cause in women is an ovulation
disorder. Other factors include blocked fallopian tubes, which
may be caused by a pelvic inflammatory disease, or endometriosis,
which is a sometimes painful condition causing cysts and adhesions.
Sometimes a woman can be born with birth defects, called congenital
abnormalities, involving distorted structure of the uterus and uterine
fibroids which can cause repeated miscarriages.
The most common infertility causes in men includes azoospermia,
which is when no sperm cells are produced, and oligospermia,
which is when few sperms are produced. Sometimes sperm can be malformed
or die before they reach the egg. In some rare cases infertility
can be caused by a genetic disease such as chromosomal abnormalities
or cystic fibrosis.
How is infertility Diagnosed?
Most couples are advised to seek medical help if they are unable
to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.
Your doctor will then conduct a physical examination of both partners
to diagnose their general state of health and evaluate physical
disorders which may cause infertility. Afterwards both partners
may be interviewed about their sexual habits in order to determine
whether intercourse is taking place properly for conception.
If neither the examination nor the interview proves successful,
then more specific tests can be recommended. For the man, most tests
focus on sperm analysis. For the woman this can include an analysis
of body temperature at ovulation, a laparoscopy and an x-ray of
the fallopian tubes and uterus.
What fertility treatments are available?
In 85 to 95 percent of cases, infertility can be treated with conventional
therapies, such as drug treatment and surgical repair of ones reproductive