Infertility is an issue that affects one in six couples trying to conceive over a period of 12 months. Infertility can come about from many different ways. Here are 5 of the most common causes of infertility which may affect couples trying to conceive.
1. The Tubal Factor
Following ovulation the egg is released from the ovary and enters the fallopian tube. It is in the fallopian tube the sperm and egg bind and gets fertilised. The fertilised egg is called an embryo which over a period of 5 days develops into a mature embryo and then enters the uterine cavity for implantation resulting in a pregnancy. Sometimes, the tubes could get blocked or damaged due to previous infection which can prevent the egg from fertilising or the embryo from reaching the Uterus.
2. PCOS with failure of ovulation
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women. This condition is caused by hormonal imbalance due to the presence of androgen (“male” hormones) in a woman’s body. This can lead to irregular periods, delayed or absence of ovulation. Although this is a common condition, many individuals who have polycystic ovaries are asymptomatic with absence of the syndrome and may be unaware they have it.
3. Male Factor
Sometimes the issue of infertility can be traced back to the Male. This could be due to a low sperm count or low sperm motility or abnormally shaped sperms. A normal sperm count is above 15 million sperm/ml, while a normal motility should be above 50%. There may be many factors that affect sperm count and motility however in a large group of men there may be no associated reasons for the abnormality.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) starts to grow elsewhere in the pelvis. The endometrium is what breaks apart and bleeds at the end of the menstrual cycles. Endometriosis in the ovary can lead to formation cyst. Ovarian endometriosis may affect ovarian reserve and fertility.
5. Unexplained Factors
There are situations in which the clinician cannot identify the cause of infertility. This could happen to a couple who don’t have any of the above conditions. If this happens and an unexplained factor causes infertility, it can be quite devastating. The process of fertilisation in the fallopian tube and implantation may be at fault. This can be corrected by IVF with a successful outcome.
The good news is that all of the above causes of infertility are usually treatable so if you have been trying to conceive for a while and have been unsuccessful so far, book a consultation with a doctor so that we can help you start your family.