What is infertility? Infertility is defined as inability to conceive despite have regular unprotected intercourse for at least 12 months or for at least six months for a woman over the age of 35. Infertility can also refer to a female who can not carry a pregnancy to full term.
What causes infertility? There is no one thing that causes infertility. Infertility can be caused by complications with the body such as ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, poor egg quality,overactive or underactive thyroid gland,etc. Other factors that affect infertility include age,smoking,heavy drinking, being overweight or obese, over or under exercising, eating disorders, sexually transmitted infections and even being stressed.
Are only women infertile? No,about 20% of cases of infertility are due to a problem with the man. Just as women can have complications with their reproductive organs men can experience this as well. Complications include sperm abnormalities like low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, poor sperm motility. Other problems include structural abnormalities and problems with ejaculation.
Are there other options? Although infertility affects about 15% of couples, the research and treatment has come a long way. weather its the male, female, or both are experiencing fertility problems there are options. There are many different ways that assisted conception can be done these include IUI, IVF, ICSI, and sperm or egg donation. IUI (intrauterine insemination) commonly done when men have a low sperm count. it is the insertion of sperm directly into the uterus during the time of ovulation. IVF (in vitro fertilization) is when sperm and eggs are combined in a petri dish and then the embryo is placed in the uterus. ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is when a single sperm is injected into and egg and then placed directly into the uterus. Sperm or egg donation is when there is either no sperm or egg in one if the partners, its possible to receive sperm or eggs from a donor.
How does this relate to me? Most teens do not even think about having a baby, but what we are doing as teenagers can affect us down the road. Teens are becoming sexually active at a much younger age and the increase of STI’s is creating a big problem for these teens fertility. Researchers predict a jump in infertility in the next 5-15 years due to the high chlamydia rates in women in their teens and early 20’s. Many other activities that are increasing in the teenage population can increase the risk of becoming infertile. These activities include smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight, over or under exercising, eating disorders, mental stress or illness and illegal drugs.
What else should i know about infertility?
It is estimated that one in six couples face difficulties in conceiving about 10% of women ages 15-44 have difficulty getting or staying pregnant about 20% of women have their first child after 35 infertility affects men and women equally up to 13% of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking ovulation abnormalities and sperm deficiencies are the most common causes of infertility 29 year old woman has a 20% per month chance of getting pregnant compared to 7% for a woman at age 39 25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility after age 35 a woman’s chances of getting pregnant go down and chance of miscarriage goes up