Causes of Male and Female Infertility

July 10, 2023
Infertility isn't tangible; it isn't a physical mark that can be touched or seen. But it can certainly be felt, and for many women, it becomes a feeling that is difficult to shake off. Often though, infertility isn't governed by something that you've done or haven't. It stems from specific conditions, some genetic, others acquired. The good news is that many factors that give rise to infertility can be addressed with tailored treatment plans. If you've been struggling with conception and are wondering what your next course of action should be, this guide should help. Here, we spotlight an array of conditions tethered to infertility.

Causes of Male Infertility

Male infertility is most often caused by a deficiency in sperm production, quality or delivery. It could also stem from functional disorders such as impotence.

1. Impaired Sperm Production

Sperm production may be impaired by a variety of factors including inherited malformations, undescended testicles, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

2. Diminished Sperm Delivery

The journey of sperm from the testicles to the urethra may be impeded by obstructions at one or more levels in the reproductive tract.

3. Influence of Environmental Factors

Environmental influences that form part of one's ecosystem can affect sperm quality and production. Pesticides, radiation, cigarettes, alcohol and steroids can hinder sperm function. Also, persistent exposure to heat can increase the core body temperature, which can in turn lessen sperm circulation.

4. Effect of Cancer Therapy

It's worth preserving sperm prior to a cancer treatment, because conception may not be possible with sperm produced after treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Causes of Female Infertility

Female infertility may be caused by factors such as ovulation dysfunction, uterine anomalies, tubal blockages and ovarian insufficiency.

1. Ovulation Dysfunction

The frequency of ovulation may be affected by hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, hyperprolactinemia and thyroid dysfunction. Lifestyle influences such as eating disorders or extreme exercise regimens can also play a role in withholding ovulation.

2. Uterine Anomalies

Uterine anomalies may stand in the way of implantation of a healthy embryo. Possible abnormalities may stem from the cervical opening, uterine shape or size, or tumours along the uterine wall.

3. Endometriosis

Endometriosis involves the growth of uterine lining tissue outside the uterus. This may affect organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.

4. Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

When ovaries slow down prematurely, it may be a sign that the ovarian reserve is insufficient to achieve a healthy pregnancy. Menopause before the age of 40 is the most obvious indicator of primary ovarian insufficiency. The cause of the condition remains uncertain, although it is thought that genetic conditions, smoking, autoimmune diseases and exposure to cancer treatments may play a role.

5. Tubal Blockages

There are several conditions that may lead to tubal damage or inflammation. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and adhesions.

6. Pelvic Adhesions

Pelvic adhesions are strips of scar tissue that clump together with organs as a result of surgical incisions, pelvic infection or appendicitis. With the roster of modern treatments available today, most infertility conditions can be overcome with careful monitoring.

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