Many couples face the problem of infertility. The causes can range from irregular menstrual periods to underlying hormonal issues. Some couples are unable to conceive despite good sperm quality.
In these cases, the couple may need a surrogate or gestational carrier who agrees to carry their child. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve fertility and become pregnant naturally.
Infertility is a common condition, affecting as many as 1/5th to 1/6th of couples in the reproductive age group. It is defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year of trying and sustaining a pregnancy.
There are many reasons why infertility is not diagnosed or treated. Among them is the lack of available resources and awareness about treatment medicines. In many countries, infertility is treated as a disease.
However, it is a myth. In medical science and reproductive health, infertility is a deficiency. It is not life-threatening and doesn’t affect an individual’s physical integrity.
In this article, we will debunk some common myths about infertility and discuss further on it is a deficiency and not a disease.
In this Article
- 1 Symptoms of Infertility
- 2 Causes of Male Infertility
- 3 Causes of Female Infertility
- 4 Is Infertility a Deficiency Not a Disease?
- 5 Common Myths about Infertility
- 5.1 Myth: Infertility Is Rare
- 5.2 Myth: Infertility Only Affects Women
- 5.3 Myth: Using Birth Control Can Cause Infertility
- 5.4 Myth: Infertility Cannot Happen To Young People
- 5.5 Myth: Conception Is Easy After Your First Baby
- 5.6 Myth: Fertility Treatments Use Up Your Eggs Faster
- 5.7 Myth: Female Masturbation Causes Infertility
- 5.8 Myth: Trying Harder Will Resolve Fertility Problems
- 5.9 Myth: Supplements And Herbs Can Treat Infertility
- 5.10 Myth: Your Lifestyle Does Not Affect Your Fertility
- 6 Common IVF Myths and Facts
- 7 Conclusion
Symptoms of Infertility
Infertility can affect both sexes. Some women are unable to conceive because they have hormonal disorders that affect ovulation. Infertility can also result from eating disorders and lack of physical activity. There are numerous causes of infertility in men and women.
For a couple to conceive, the woman’s fallopian tubes must be open, and the sperm must be able to reach the egg. The fertilized egg then needs to travel through the fallopian tube to the uterus and attach to the uterine wall.
Some couples experience difficulty conceiving despite trying for years. Women over the age of thirty are more likely to experience the challenges. The Mayo Clinic defines infertility as at least one year of unsuccessful attempts to conceive.
Early detection is the key to tackling fertility problems. You need to look out for symptoms. If you experience any symptoms, get in touch with a medical professional and get tested. Here are some common and early symptoms of infertility.
- Not getting pregnant
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Absent menstrual periods
- Abnormal and painful periods
- Hormonal problems
- Testicle pain or swelling
- Issues with education
- Problems maintaining erection
- Changes in sexual function
Causes of Male Infertility
There are many different causes of male fertility problems. To determine the cause, your healthcare provider will first determine if you have been having regular sex for at least one year. They will also examine your sperm and semen. Other tests might be conducted to determine the actual cause behind male infertility. Here are some common causes.
- Inability to produce sperm,
- Low production of sperm,
- Poor quality sperm,
- Genetic diseases,
- Malformed sperm,
- Certain medical conditions,
- Hormonal disorders,
- Unhealthy habits.
Causes of Female Infertility
There are many causes of female fertility problems. A woman’s reproductive system is complex, and a disruption in the hormonal balance may prevent ovulation and make it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. Without ovulation, there is no chance of pregnancy or fertilization. The causes of female infertility range from genetic makeup to hormone levels. Here are some common causes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome,
- Hypothalamic dysfunction,
- Too much prolactin,
- Primary ovarian insufficiency,
- Pelvic inflammatory disease,
- Problems with the uterus,
- Damage to fallopian tubes.
Is Infertility a Deficiency Not a Disease?
One of the biggest myths about infertility is that it is a disease. It is a very sensitive subject for couples as many people consider fertility problems taboo. However, it has become pretty common nowadays. As per WHO, nearly 48 million couples suffer from this problem.
According to the bio-statistical theory of health, infertility is a disease only if anatomical infertility is present. This type of fertility problem results from the failure of an internal biological part, leading to the inability to reproduce or a decreased reproductive efficiency. However, this theory is still controversial, as it does not consider the role of age in fertility.
However, as per medical professionals, it is not a disease but a deficiency. Infertility may be a symptom of another condition, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or a hormonal imbalance. In some women, the ovaries do not mature properly, and in such cases, fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization may not be enough.
In most cases, there is an underlying cause that results in infertility. For example, if you have hormonal problems, it can lead to fertility problems. This clearly shows that infertility is not a disease but a deficiency that can be treated.
Other causes of fertility problems include overexposure to environmental factors such as alcohol or cigarette smoking. Also, some drugs, such as prescription or recreational drugs, such as marijuana or sulfasalazine, can affect fertility. Finally, women who have undergone surgery or radiation may have diminished fertility. Men may also have infertility due to tumours in the uterus.
With the advancement in the reproductive health field, various treatments are available to manage infertility in couples. If you notice any symptoms of infertility, it is best to get tested. These tests can reveal the causes of fertility problems and give some helpful advice.
The taboo about infertility should be broken as it affects the physical as well as mental health of couples. People should be aware of the truth about infertility so they can seek the right advice and treatment options.
Common Myths about Infertility
Infertility is a controversial topic, and there are many myths surrounding it. Today, we are going to debunk some of the most common myths about infertility.
Myth: Infertility Is Rare
Fact: Infertility is a common problem and affects many people. In fact, studies show that one in five couples have trouble conceiving after a year of trying.
Myth: Infertility Only Affects Women
Fact: Infertility affects both men as well as women. Many people assume that infertility is a woman’s problem, but in fact, 30% of cases of fertility problems are male-driven.
Myth: Using Birth Control Can Cause Infertility
Fact: Using birth control can delay your ability to conceive, but it doesn’t cause infertility. The hormones in birth control can temporarily reduce fertility, but your normal levels will return within a few months.
Myth: Infertility Cannot Happen To Young People
Fact: Infertility can affect people of any age group. Young couples suffer from infertility for many reasons, including a lack of sperm quality or several other factors. 15 percent of young couples have failed to conceive after two years of trying.
Myth: Conception Is Easy After Your First Baby
Fact: Secondary infertility is very common in couples who have previously given birth have difficulty conceiving. You may have heard that it’s easy to conceive after the birth of your first child. This is not necessarily true. Many couples need fertility medicines and treatment after previously giving birth.
Myth: Fertility Treatments Use Up Your Eggs Faster
Fact: You are born with the number of eggs you will have throughout your life. Every month, your body releases several eggs, of which only one is ovulated. The rest are lost. When you go for fertility treatments, it helps to develop more than one egg each month. So, fertility treatments do not use up your eggs faster.
Myth: Female Masturbation Causes Infertility
Fact: The truth is that female masturbation benefits a woman’s overall health, but it is not necessary to conceive a child. It is a normal process and doesn’t lead to infertility. While masturbation will not cause fertility problems, it will boost your immune system and regulate your mood.
Myth: Trying Harder Will Resolve Fertility Problems
Fact: If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, don’t think that ‘trying harder’ will make it happen. Trying harder may not always lead to a baby, and it could worsen your condition.
Myth: Supplements And Herbs Can Treat Infertility
Fact: Various herbal and supplement products have been used to treat infertility, but there is no evidence to show if it really works. The research on these products is limited, and they may not affect the likelihood of conception. Herbs such as evening primrose oil and red clover may have beneficial effects, but they cannot treat fertility problems.
Myth: Your Lifestyle Does Not Affect Your Fertility
Fact: You’ve probably heard that your lifestyle doesn’t affect your fertility, but you’re wrong. According to studies, your lifestyle can affect your chances of getting pregnant. Obesity and being underweight are linked to infertility because they affect the hormones that trigger ovulation and can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.
Common IVF Myths and Facts
IVF is one of the most popular infertility treatments. Many couples were able to start their family because of in vitro fertilization treatment. However, there are some common IVF myths. Some of these myths are as follows.
Myth: IVF Is Only For Infertile Couples
Fact: In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a common treatment for women who cannot conceive a child. It is not necessarily for infertile couples. You can choose this treatment if your partner has a genetic disorder that can be passed on to the baby. Same-sex couples also use it to conceive.
Myth: You Can Do IVF At Any Age
Fact: In general, women who are more than 35 years old can do IVF. However, the success rates of IVF decline with age. The reason is that the quality of eggs decreases as a woman ages, resulting in a decreased number of eggs available for recruitment and maturation. This decrease in egg quality significantly affects the chances of successful treatment and pregnancy. Furthermore, older women are at greater risk of miscarriage.
Myth: IVF Causes You To Have Multiple Births
Fact: The number of multiple births in IVF treatments largely depends on how many embryos are transferred back to the womb. In 1991, only 13% of IVF cycles used single embryo transfers, but in 2019 that rate increased to 75%. However, with technological advancement, only a single healthy embryo is selected at the time of implantation to avoid multiple births.
Myth: All IVF Clinics Are The Same
Fact: You might think that all IVF clinics are the same. This is not necessarily the case. Different doctors may use different techniques and procedures. While all fertility treatments are equally effective, some are more expensive and more aggressive than others. For instance, some fertility clinics use “mini-IVF,” which involves less hormone therapy and probably fewer eggs per retrieval.
Infertility is often treated as a disease and is frowned upon by society. However, it is a deficiency that medical professionals can easily treat and manage with early detection. Nowadays, there are various treatments available like IVF to help infertile couples conceive successfully. Knowing the myths and truths about infertility is important to seek the right treatment plan.