What is infertility?
Many couples do not have a clear definition of infertility, and this makes them discouraged and disappointed in the process of having a child.
If a couple tries to get pregnant and does not get pregnant after one year of having regular sex without using preventive means, they are considered infertile. It should be noted that this time is considered one year for women under 35 years old, while women over 35 years old are considered infertile after six months of trying to conceive.
Normally, about eighty percent of couples will get pregnant after 6 months, and between 85 and 90 percent of couples will get pregnant after one year of having regular sex without using contraceptives. So keep in mind that pregnancy may be a time-consuming process and take up to a year, because in each menstrual cycle, the probability of a woman getting pregnant is only fifteen to twenty percent.
If you are one of the couples who haven't gotten pregnant after repeated attempts, and you think you might be infertile, you need to know that only 10 to 15% of couples who are of reproductive age have infertility problems.
From a medical point of view, a couple can be considered infertile only after one year of having regular and unprotected sex. Of course, this time is reduced to six months for couples in which the woman is over 35 years old.
Types of infertility
Infertility is generally divided into two categories: primary infertility and secondary infertility.
When a couple who have never had a child or become pregnant experience infertility, it is called primary infertility. The reason for this type of infertility can be congenital problems or acquired problems.
In this model of infertility, couples are unable to conceive a second time after experiencing pregnancy, which may have been successful or unsuccessful. This type of infertility can have various acquired reasons.
Infertility naturally has no specific symptoms and a couple may not know they are infertile until they are trying to conceive.
Symptoms of infertility in men
Low amount of semen
Colorless and thin semen
Changes in hair growth
History of penile or testicular surgery
Abnormal breast size or growth
Symptoms of infertility in women
Low or decreased libido
Irregularity of menstruation
Too much or too little bleeding during menstruation
A lot of pain in the back and pelvis during menstruation or before and after it
Thick and dark unwanted hair on the face (around the lips and chin) or on the breasts and between the breasts
Having milky secretions from the nipple
Pain or spotting during intercourse
Causes of infertility
The main reason for infertility is the existence of problems in the functioning of the reproductive system, the existence of problems in any part of the reproductive system can lead to infertility, which includes the following problems:
Failure to produce healthy sperm in men: One of the main causes of infertility in men is failure to produce healthy sperm in their reproductive system. In this case, the produced sperms have problems in terms of number, shape and motility.
Failure to produce healthy eggs in women: One of the main reasons for infertility in women is the existence of problems in the ovulation process or having unhealthy eggs. Of course, this problem can have many causes.
Closed fallopian tubes: Another key reason for infertility is the closure or blockage of one or both fallopian tubes. which prevents the sperms from reaching the eggs.
The inability of the sperm to impregnate the egg: among other causes of infertility in men, we should mention the weakness of the sperm and its inability to penetrate the egg membrane.
Infertility in men
The reproductive process in men is a relatively complicated process, but in general, for this process to be successful, the following three steps must be done correctly:
The male reproductive system must be able to produce healthy sperm. In order to produce healthy sperm, the male reproductive system and organs must be fully developed at the time of puberty. The body must produce enough testosterone and at least one testicle must be functioning properly to produce healthy sperm.
Sperm must enter the semen properly. After producing healthy sperm in the testicles, these sperms are transported by narrow tubes to mix with the semen, and thus exit the penis.
There must be enough quality sperm in the semen. The higher the number of sperm in the semen, and the higher the quality and speed of movement of these sperm, the more likely they will fertilize the egg. If the sperm does not have a normal shape or does not have enough speed, it may not be able to penetrate into the egg.
Environmental factors affecting male infertility
Use of drugs or cigarettes
Excessive alcohol consumption
Exposure to heavy metals
Exposure to chemicals including toxins, pesticides, industrial dyes, and organic solvents
Heating of the testicles
Immobility and sitting for a long time, wearing tight clothes and working with a laptop for a long time (especially putting the laptop on the legs)
Infertility in women
There are many reasons for infertility in women, the most important of which we have discussed below:
Incomplete ovulation process: Hormonal disorders in glands such as the hypothalamus or pituitary, or ovarian problems can cause various problems such as polycystic ovaries, ovarian failure, hypothalamic dysfunction, or hyperprolactinemia, which leads to problems in the ovulation process.
Damage in the fallopian tubes: If the fallopian tubes are damaged, scarred or blocked, they may prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, or the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. Fallopian tubes may be damaged and blocked for various reasons, including uterine and fallopian infections that may occur due to diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other types of sexually transmitted infections, pelvic or abdominal surgeries, and ectopic pregnancies.
Endometriosis: Endometriosis is the growth of benign tissues in and around the uterus. This extra tissue that grows in the body must be surgically removed, and sometimes the surgery can lead to scarring that may block the fallopian tube and prevent sperm from reaching the egg, resulting in a woman's fertility.
Uterine problems: Various uterine problems may lead to infertility in women, these problems usually disrupt the process of embryo implantation or increase the possibility of miscarriage. These problems can include issues such as the presence of polyps or fibroids (benign tumors), or congenital uterine problems such as cervical stenosis or an abnormal shape of the uterus.
Uncertain cause: In a number of cases, there is no specific reason for the infertility of the parties, but a series of small problems of the parties can lead to this problem.
In the past, the problem of infertility was considered a very serious and difficult problem and caused despair to the couples involved, but today, with the advancement of medical science, various and effective treatment methods have been proposed that can solve the infertility problem of many couples. And for this reason, the chance of pregnancy for infertile couples has increased dramatically.
As the first step to cure the problem of infertility, raising your awareness and knowledge about this issue. Instead of drowning in negative thoughts and unhappiness, it is better to consult a skilled specialist and identify and act on the ways of treatment.
If you have been trying to conceive regularly and unprotectedly for more than a year and are still unsuccessful, you should see an obstetrician or infertility treatment centre.
There are various treatment methods for treating infertility, which are suggested to couples by specialists after diagnosing the cause of infertility. In the following, we will tell the most known and effective methods of treating infertility:
Drug therapy that treats both male and female infertility as a common method of treating infertility in many cases.
Surgery to remove the abnormality in a woman or man in order to treat infertility.
Using auxiliary methods such as IUI, IVF, or microinjection ICSI
Use of surrogacy, donated sperm, donated eggs or donated embryos