What is infertility?
Infertility refers to a couple that has failed to conceive after one year of regular sexual intercourse without using contraceptives. Studies show that about 15 percent of couples are unable to get pregnant even after one year of having unprotected sex. While infertility is traced to the woman in one-third of cases, in another third of cases, it is because of the man while the rest of the time, no cause can be found or it may be because of both partners.
Here are a few factors that can lead to infertility in women and men:
A woman’s fertility starts to drop after she is about 32 years old, and continues doing so. A 50-year-old man is usually less fertile than a man in his 20s (male fertility progressively drops after the age of 40).
Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women. Smoking may also undermine the effects of fertility treatment. Even when a woman gets pregnant, if she smokes she has a greater risk of miscarriage.
A woman’s pregnancy can be seriously affected by any amount of alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse may lower male fertility. Moderate alcohol consumption has not been shown to lower fertility in most men but is thought to lower fertility in men who already have a low sperm count.
Being obese or overweight
Overweight/ obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are often found to be the principal causes of female infertility. An overweight man has a higher risk of having abnormal sperm.
Eating disorders and Poor Nutrition
Women who become seriously underweight as a result of an eating disorder may have fertility problems. You must make sure your intake of iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamin B-12 are adequate, otherwise, your fertility may become affected.
Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs)
Chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes, as well as making the man’s scrotum become inflamed. Some other STIs may also cause infertility.
Studies indicate that female ovulation and sperm production may be affected by stress. If at least one partner is stressed it is possible that the frequency of sexual intercourse is less, resulting in a lower chance of conception. Stress, coupled with poor nutrition, can contribute towards infertility.
However with the developments in science and medicine, now here are fertility treatments that are available for men and women. Medication, assisted reproductive technology like IVI and IUF, and surgery are some of the common treatments. But it is always good to have a healthy lifestyle and avoid factors that may lead to infertility in the first place.