When you’re ready to step into the world of parenthood, you’ll do almost everything to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Generally, most healthy couples who have sex regularly, without the use of birth control, will conceive within one year.
Causes of Infertility
Infertility happens when one or both partners cannot contribute to conception. Globally, approximately 8-12% of couples experience fertility challenges and there are many possible causes that can be affecting your fertility. Among men, some of the possible causes can include low sperm count, low sperm motility and abnormal sperm. For women on the other hand, medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, poor egg quality and problems in the uterus and fallopian tubes can make it difficult to conceive.
i) In Men
A man’s semen and sperm health is vital when it comes to conceiving a child. Infertility in men may not present with any symptoms at times because the cause could lie within the health of the sperm and semen. The causes of infertility in this case includes:
- Abnormal sperm: It’s important for every sperm cell to have a healthy structure. At times, the sperm may have an unusual shape and can make it difficult for it to reach an egg.
- Low sperm count: A low sperm count when the male ejaculates and the level is defined by a count of under 15 million sperms.
- Sperm motility: This refers to the sperm’s ability to swim well.
- Abnormal semen: Abnormal semen may not be able to carry sperm well. Abnormal semen can be caused by overheated testicles, hormonal imbalance as well as medical conditions such as cancer.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can affect sperm production. If you have opted for this treatment option, we would like to recommend that you consider freezing your sperm especially if you’re planning on having a family in the future.
- Medication: Some medications can affect sperm production and increase your risk of infertility.
The health of a man’s sperm and semen can be easily determined through a lab analysis which will required a sample of semen, as well as, blood to be tested.
ii) In Women
A woman’s fertility is determined by the health of her reproductive system. It is crucial that a woman not only has a healthy egg production but also that her uterus (womb) is healthy and is able to carry a baby until full-term.
Just like men, there are several infertility causes among women including:
- Ovulation: Ovulation problems can occur due to hormone imbalance, stress as well as drug and alcohol use.
- Abnormal cervical mucous: Abnormal cervical mucous can deter the sperm from reaching the egg. Hence, preventing conception.
- Damaged fallopian tubes or uterus: The damage to these important areas of a woman’s reproductive system can be caused by an infection, fibroids or even a defect from birth or previous abdominal/pelvic surgery.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility. The hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation), causing irregular periods and increased levels of hormones such as testosterone.
- Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the same cells in the endometrium grows outside the uterus. Although it does not directly cause infertility, patients who have this condition will have a significantly lower chance of conceiving.
The causes of infertility among women can be identified through a series of tests as well including blood work, a urine test as well as an ultrasound.
There are various treatment options available to address infertility. Sunway Fertility Centre is equipped with a team of highly-skilled fertility specialists as well as medical technology and treatments options to increase your chances of conception.
Improving Your Fertility
Your lifestyle choices also play a crucial role when it comes to your reproductive health. Here are some ways to improve your fertility:
- Reduce carbohydrates – Especially for women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a low-carb diet is generally recommended as it helps to maintain a healthy weight as well as to reduce insulin levels and ultimately, regulating your hormone levels.
- Enjoy your fibre – This a good reason to add a healthy dose of foods high in fibre to your diet. Fibre helps to regulate your blood sugar levels too. Hence, possibly helping with your fertility.
- Get active – A sedentary lifestyle is proven to be linked to a greater risk of infertility. Exercising regularly is recommended for both men and women as exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight as well as improve your overall health.
Ultimately, a healthy and balanced lifestyle is the key to maintaining good reproductive health. However, for some couples, trying to conceive naturally can be a struggle. There can be many causes of infertility in addition to your lifestyle choices.
Infertility is not the fault of a specific gender. Among couples, the inability to conceive naturally among women is 40 percent, among men is 40 percent as well and the remaining percentage is due to unknown causes.
If there are any concerns that may arise, our Fertility Specialists are ready to hear your concerns and provide professional advice.