Infertility

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Infertility

Infertility is the inability to naturally conceive a child, or to carry a pregnancy full term. This could be down to the male in the partnership, the female, or in some cases, both. Infertility affects approximately 10 per cent of people of reproductive age. Roughly 40 per cent of cases involve a male contribution or factor, 40 per cent involve a female factor, and the remaining 20% involve both sexes. The infertility rates in Canada are rising every year, but fortunately, most of the infertility causes may be dealt with if detected soon enough. There are a lot of new treatments that are being discovered to help infertile couples. Couples are affected by infertility mentally, psychologically and financially.

Unfortunately, infertility is on the rise in Canada. Up to 16 per cent of heterosexual couples which includes a female ages 18 to 44 are experiencing fertility problems. In simple words, about 6.1 million North American couples are affected by infertility. One of the reasons infertility rates are increasing every year is due to women choosing to become pregnant later in life. They are choosing to delay starting a family until later in life, which may be hazardous since their reproductive health may be affected by menopause. Due to the decrease in fertility in women as they age, women in their late 30s and early 40s have a much harder time conceiving naturally, even with treatment. Diet, exercise, smoking and drugs are some behavioral factors that may influence infertility. The rates of obesity and heavy drinking among women are also rising, and stress definitely affects both men and women. Other conditions that cause infertility in females are: sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), damaged ovaries, blocked fallopian tubes, hypothyroidism (a thyroid disorder), endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, scarring in the uterus, fibroids, congenital diseases, excessive exercise, anorexia or bulimia, frequent changes in weight, damage to the cervix, etc. Infertility in males may be caused by: sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), hormone disturbance, genital injury, smoking/drugs/excessive alcohol, cystic fibrosis, varicose veins in the testicles, mumps after puberty, steroids, anatomical abnormalities, medications, etc. It is evident that women are an easier target for infertility, but both male and females have a chance of becoming infertile.

Out of all the causes of infertility, the most common ones are blocked/damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis and low sperm count. The blockage or damage in the fallopian tubes results in inflammation of the fallopian tube. If one or both fallopian tubes are blocked, the egg cannot travel to the uterus, preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg, which therefore prevents pregnancy. There are also cases of the fallopian tubes being partially blocked, but not fully. This may increase the risk of a tubal or ectopic pregnancy, in which the pregnancy starts in the fallopian tubes, resulting with a lot of damage. The leading causes include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and previous sterilisation surgery. There are usually no symptoms for these diseases. The possible solutions can be: Laparoscopic Surgery to open tubes (if possible), if surgery fails, in vitro fertilization is an option. The next cause is endometriosis, which occurs when the uterine tissue implants and grows outside of the uterus and therefore affects the function of the sperm, egg and ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. The causes are still unidentified. Some possible symptoms are: Painful menstrual periods, irregular or heavy bleeding and possibly, and repeated miscarriages. The possible solutions are: Laparoscopic surgery to remove abnormal tissue or unblock tubes and assisted conception treatments. Another major cause is low sperm count. Low or no sperm counts, poor sperm motility (the ability to move), and abnormally-shaped sperm can cause...
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