15 February 2013
Infertility In Relationships
Infertility, or sterility, is the inability to produce offspring or the inability to conceive. Although the majority of American men and women assume that they will mature, fall in love, and create children of their own, the rate of fertility continues to decrease over the years, and the American dream of becoming a parent does not always become a reality. Although some men and women are complacent with adoption or an egg/sperm donation, others who plan for a child of their own consider infertility as a major devastation. Research has shown that over thirty percent of women in America experience complications with fertility and fourteen percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies in America result in a miscarriage or stillbirth (Schwerdtfeger). However, fertility is not just a concern for females. For centuries, if a couple were unable to have children, the fault was put on the women, although we now know that both men and women suffer equally from fertility complications. Among couples who are infertile, about forty percent of cases are exclusively due to female infertility, forty percent to male infertility and ten percent involving problems with both partners (McArthur). The factor of not being able to produce offspring is a hard concept to endure for both genders, and can result in severe emotional issues that can be sustained for an extended period of time. The effects of being infertile can take a severe toll on one’s relationship with family, friends, and most commonly, their significant other.
Female infertility can be a result of multiple distinct factors. Of the many factors, three of the most common types of infertility in women are Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Ovulation Disorders. Endometriosis is a condition where segments of the uterine lining grow on the outside of the uterus resulting in inflammation, scarring, cysts and infertility. To diagnose this condition, a small tube with an attached camera is inserted into a small incision in the woman’s pelvis and is used to detect endometrial growth. Surgery, medication, or a combination of the two, are used to treat this case (“Understanding Female Infertility”). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition where small, non-cancerous, cysts form on a woman’s ovaries producing irregular periods, weight gain, insulin resistance, and development of several male characteristics. Treatment for PCOS is either fertility medication that triggers ovulation, medication which treats insulin resistance, or simply exercise (Weil). Ovulation Disorders are a condition where ovulation is irregular or completely absent, which is due to hormonal imbalances in the body. Fertility drugs to trigger ovulation or in vitro fertilization are some of the courses of action that can be taken to increase ones chances of producing offspring (Gray). Furthermore, age is also a critical factor that effects a woman’s fertility. When passing the age of 35, the quality of a woman’s eggs diminish and she is less likely to become pregnant. By the average age of 51, a woman will enter menopause and will no longer not release an egg, consequently being unable to bear children (McArthur).
In the cases of male infertility, the following three parameters are evaluated: how well the sperm moves, how the sperm looks, and the number of sperm. The different causes of male infertility can include that the sperm’s exit route is blocked, the semen is ejaculated back into the bladder, or the sperm count is low. Depending on the severity of the problem, different actions can be taken. In mild cases, artificial insemination can be a treatment. In more severe cases, in vitro fertilization is an option, and in the most severe case, where no sperm is present, medical professionals can retrieve small amounts of sperm by either testicular sperm extraction or testicular biopsy where they then use in vitro...