Fertility Treatment Guide

Fertility is quite a specific concept, and is one that you may be thinking about if you are considering getting pregnant. Generally speaking fertility is the natural ability to reproduce, and varies from person to person depending on any combination of a number of different factors like bodily biochemistry to nutrition.

Male fertility and what factors affect it

Male sex cells are sperm, also known as spermatozoa, and so male fertility is very much to do with how effective sperm are, how many of them there are, and how much semen, a fluid full of nutrients in which sperm are found and ejaculated in, is produced. The male role in reproduction, and hence pregnancy, is all about getting as much sperm as possible in contact with the female egg. The egg is surrounded by layers of cells which make it quite hard to penetrate, so the more sperm there is in every ejaculate, the better the chance of pregnancy.

It’s not just about how much sperm there is however, but also how good those sperm are at getting to that egg. Each sperm has what appears to be an egg like head and a long thin tail which beats to generate a swimming movement. The ability of sperm to move effectively is called sperm motility, and is very important in male fertility. The more motile the sperm, the more fertile they are.

One of the main factors determining and affecting male fertility is undoubtedly age, which results in a decrease in all the important bits mentioned above, the amount of semen, sperm motility, and even the actual shape and function of the sperm itself. It is above the age of 50 that these factors are more dramatically affected. Obesity has recently been linked to male fertility, and it is suggested that the more overweight you are the less fertile your sperm.

Female fertility and what factors affect it

Female fertility, like male fertility, tends to diminish over time. Women’s fertility is at its peak in their mid-twenties. This is thought to be because women only have a finite number of egg cells to last them a lifetime. Over time eggs diminish in quality and number, reducing the likelihood of fertilisation with age.

Female fertility is very much dictated by time, and revolves around the menstrual cycle. Fertility peaks for women at a specific time during the monthly cycle, this point is prior to ovulation which can be predicted by watching your body temperature or following the use of an ovulation predictor kit. Alcohol, smoking, and obesity are all issues that disrupt fertility in women, as well as stress which can affect the all-important levels of hormones which dictate fertility.

Infertility and its Causes ยป