Infertility refers to the failure to conceive or achieve pregnancy. In general terms, it means the inability to conceive a child even after a year of regular sexual intercourse without any protection. Women who are able to conceive but not carry a pregnancy may also be diagnosed with infertility. Infertility is not just a problem faced by women; men can be detected with infertility too.
Usually there are two types of infertility
Primary Infertility: It refers to couples who are unable to conceive after at least 1 year of trying for a child.
Secondary Infertility: It refers to those couples who have been successful to get pregnant at least once, but are unable now.
Infertility is a common problem faced by couples worldwide. According to a research conducted by a Bangalore based company, Inito, around 27.5 million couples were facing infertility only in India in 2018. The research revealed that around 10-15% of married couples in India face infertility.
Causes of infertility in Men
Low Sperm count: When the semen which a man ejaculates has low levels of sperm it causes problems in conceiving. A sperm count fewer than 15 million is considered low.
Low Sperm Mobility: The sperm fails to ‘swim’ well as to reach the egg to fertilise it.
Abnormal Sperm: The sperm may have an abnormal shape which makes it harder for it to move and fertilise an egg.
Medical conditions: Conditions like cancer, testicular infection etc. may cause infertility.
Ejaculation disorders: If ejaculatory ducts are blocked, sperms may be ejaculated into the bladder.
Genetic: A man should have an X and Y chromosome. If he has two X and a Y chromosome the testicles will develop abnormally which would result in a low sperm count.
Causes of Infertility in Women
Ovulation Disorders: It is the most common cause of infertility among women. Ovulation is the monthly release of an egg. Eggs may never be released or released only in cycles.
Cholesterol: High cholesterol level may cause infertility problems in women, according to some studies.
Weight: Obesity and weight loss can lead to infertility among both men and women.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and HIV can cause infertility in women.
Age: The ability to conceive among women starts to fall around the age of 32 years. This may lead to infertility.
Smoking and Alcohol: Any level of smoking or alcohol consumption may lead to infertility. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to pregnancy loss. Even passive smoking has been linked with low fertility levels.