Infertility and its Causes

While fertility is a measure of your ability to conceive, infertility is a medical condition in which you can’t contribute to the conception of a child. Infertility is something of a sensitive topic as finding out you are infertile can be trying to say the least, and place a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety on you and your partner. Both men and women can be infertile, and there’s a whole range of different reasons why the condition can occur.

How do I know if I’m infertile?

If you have been trying to conceive but haven’t been successful, that alone isn’t cause for stress or worry. You can take comfort in the fact that fertility might not be the problem, and in many cases isn’t, instead a quick trip to a fertility clinic can reveal something in your lifestyle or behaviour that is disrupting your chances to conceive. There are very many different factors affecting fertility, some in your control and some out of it, but getting some professional advice can at least put your mind at ease at the very least.

The general information from the NHS tells us that about 80% of couples will conceive within a year provided that they have regular sex, without contraception, and at the right points during the menstrual cycle. This percentage drops as you grow older. Your doctor will only discuss the possibility of infertility after you have been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, have seen a fertility specialist, and eliminated all the other possibilities. The important thing to remember is that even if you do find that you suffer from a fertility issue, there are many different methods by which modern medicine can help you conceive.

What causes infertility?

Your body is an immensely complicated system, and when it comes to such a thing as fertility, there are a number of different factors and mechanisms that, when disrupted, lead to what is called infertility. Here we should make a distinction, the term ‘infertility’ itself is kind of misleading as it means a complete inability to conceive, you will be relieved to know that in actual fact infertility is extremely rare, and ‘subfertility’ is a more accurate term as while your fertility has been affected, chances are there is something that can be done to help you conceive. Quite a relief, isn’t it?

The NHS tells us that about a third of fertility issues are female in origin, while another third are male, and the rest remain unidentified. Broadly speaking, fertility issues can stem from any one of these causal factors:

  • Injury/trauma – a substantial trauma to the genitals or other parts of the reproductive system can lead to fertility issues. The severity of the problem is directly linked to the extent of the injury.
  • Problems with the female monthly cycle, in particular a phase called ovulation, where an egg is released for fertilisation.
  • Disease/illness/infection that causes damage to the reproductive system in some way.
  • Certain medications and treatments, most notably chemotherapy, can have a very negative effect on your fertility.
  • Age is possibly the biggest issue when it comes to fertility in both men and women.
  • Abnormal semen in men.

These are only some of the general reasons behind infertility, and they vary immensely from person to person. The important thing to remember, again, is that if you are having problems with fertility then modern medicine can offer many solutions and options. There is a lot of support available as well, both medical and emotional for you and your partner.

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