Human reproduction is a complex and a delicate process. Some women find difficulties in being pregnant or staying pregnant. In fact, a woman is considered infertile if she is unable to become pregnant after one year or after several attempts or if she has several miscarriages. However, fertility problems can occur in both women and men and can be due to multiple causes. Therefore, understanding the causes of infertility is one of the most important parts of the treatment.
What are the causes of infertility ?
Many stages of pregnancy depend on the proper functioning of the female body.The common causes of female infertility include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Blockages or disorders of the fallopian tubes
- Luteal Phase Defects (LPD)
- Irregular uterine shape
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Thyroid problems
- Unhealthy lifestyle
Men can also suffer from many conditions that make pregnancy difficult. In fact, male infertility affects up to half of couples who have difficulties of conceiving. In general, male fertility problems arise from sperm with low motility (speed and the efficiency of movement), morphology (shape) or concentration (overall number). The conditions that can cause male infertility are :
- Trauma to the testicular region
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Environmental toxins such as lead or pesticides
- Varicoceles, when the veins in the testicles are enlarged causing the overheating of the sperm.
- Taking anabolic steroids
- Alcohol abuse
- The use of testosterone supplements
- An incorrect ejaculation such as a retrograde ejaculation
What could increase the risk of infertility ?
Certain health and lifestyle factors can increase the risks of having fertility problems. These include :
- Being over 35 years old (for women)
- Being overweight or underweight
- Chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- The excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- Smoking cigarettes
- The failure to obtain the recommended tests for chlamydia / gonorrhea
- History of pelvic inflammatory disease
- An injury to the scrotum and to the testicles
- Overheated testicles (by wearing too tight clothes or always swimming or bathing in hot water)
- Having an undescended testicle : cryptorchidism