Infertility has a solution
Two in ten couples have difficulties getting pregnant sometime in their lives. This means thousands of people affected although not all of them search for the appropriate treatment.
Infertility is defined as the incapacity of a couple to conceive approximately after a year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. A couple’s normal fertility is around 20% per monthly cycle.
Infertility motivates an increasing search for medical help due to social situations connected to late family planning of motherhood, usually left for a period after professional stabilization. In fact, two decades ago the age for a woman to have her first child was in average 25 years old, while now is around her 30’s.
The risks of pregnancy complications increase with the pregnant’s age. Other important change is the decline of male fertility shown by the breaking of semen quality parameters. One of the most probable causes for male infertility is pollution resulting from toxic industrial derivatives containing estrogens. Other causes concern irregular living habits, tobacco and alcohol consumption, etc.
Infertility deserves medical investigation when there is no pregnancy after one year of regular sexual intercourse without contraceptive methods. Exceptions to this rule are couples in which a woman is aged over 35 or when some pathology exists that may condition fertility. In these cases, investigation should start within six months after regular unprotected sexual life.
In recent years, public information regarding infertility problems and their possibilities of treatment has been increasing. In some way this fact diminishes the taboo and the social stigma involving this subject, which induces couples to search in time for the necessary medical help.
In spite of several infertility causes, these can be equally attributed to men and women, although many causes are still unknown. The age of the woman is by itself the most determining factor of fertility in a couple. A woman is born with all eggs she will use during her reproductive life and they decrease with age. From the age of 36-37 on the decrease in egg number and quality increases even more, being more difficult to get a pregnancy over 40.
In approximately 35% of the times infertility has a male cause – scarce sperm or without the proper characteristics.
In another 35% of the cases there is a female cause – the most frequent is ovulation problems although tubes obstruction is also a relatively common situation.
In about 20% of infertile couples, both members contribute for the problem in a more or less degree. In about 10% of the couples no reason for infertility is apparently detected.
In women, uterus diseases may contribute to infertility such as fibromyoma, congenital anomalies in the uterine cavity and changes in it, unfavourable cervical mucus, endometriosis and repetitive abortions (caused by uterine hormonal / immunity alterations or congenital malformations).
As for men, the most common problems are related to spermatozoa: decrease in number (less than 15 million per millilitre in the ejaculate) or decrease of motility and abnormal morphology. It is important to understand that abnormal spermatozoa do not originate children with malformations. Abnormal spermatozoa have less capacity to fertilise. There are also many cases in which no sperm exist in the ejaculate (azoospermia)
It is important to remember that most men with decreased quantity of spermatozoa (oligospermia) may still achieve fertilisation, originating a pregnancy even without treatment, except in serious situations. However the period of time for that to happen might longer than usual.
If infertility is long (for more than 2 to 3 years) in vitro Fertilisation isprobably the right choice. In this case, besides trying to achieve a pregnancy, it also tests the fertilisation capacity of the couples’ cells.