Infertility and problems with conceiving a child are more and more common in our society. Some scientists even talk of the epidemic of infertility among women and men. Although the situation may not be as serious for many couples some conditions are effectual obstacle to starting a family. How to detect and avoid infertility factors and if it is possible to completely rule them out are important questions for future parents.
Female and Male Fertility
There are fundamental differences between female and male fertility. Female egg cells are already formed at the beginning of woman’s life, during prenatal period. In an adult life woman’s ova develop from the large number of cells called primary oocytes situated in the ovary – about 2 million of primary oocytes are present at birth and none of them are created after birth. It contrasts with male continuous production of sperm cells during the whole period after puberty. The process of spermatogenesis takes place de novo – sperm cells form each time right before ejaculation. That is why age plays huge role in female reproduction processes and does not affect so much male reproductive capabilities. That fact also constitutes that age is one of the most important factor of female fertility that have ‘expiry date’ counted by released egg cells during each ovulation and ending around time of the beginning of menopause. The highest fertility is achieved at the age of twenty to twenty-fife. For various reasons, fewer women at this age give birth and this decision is postponed for later. After the age of thirty fertility already begins to decline up to the age of forty when there is only 5 percent chance of fertilization during one menstrual cycle. That is why age factor is of essence for female fertility while for men decrease of sperm cells’ quality is not so vital.
Also the terms of fertility are different among women and men. For men being fertile means to be capable of properly producing healthy sperm cells in sufficient quantities and release them while completing sexual intercourse. For women it is more complex – fertility denotes the ability to sexual intercourse, then to conceive a child, then to get pregnant (capability to induce embryo’s development in the fallopian tube and its implantation in the uterus), after that to carry out the pregnancy, to give birth and in the end to breast-feed a child. Additionally female fertility occurs repeatedly at certain moments of menstrual cycle while male fertility is constant.
Determinants of infertility
General differences between female and male fertility result in disparity of factors effecting it and causing its decrease. Some of the variables concern only women, however there are also certain determinants that apply more or less to both sexes. Among fertility factors there are for instance genetic predisposition – some genetic diseases and aberrations induce absolute lack of fertility, some others may cause some organic malfunctions that may cause partial or temporary infertility. Additionally children inherit parents’ capacities such as for example difficulties to conceive or other health problems like thyroid disorders, tendencies for obesity and other factors decreasing potential for reproduction. Also factors from the earliest development – from fetal life so for example medicaments and substances that our mother took, infections the mother went through effecting fetus’ features and among that future fertility or even wrong diet of the mother – on one hand eating too much unhealthy food that do not contain much nutrients, and on the other eating not enough food and being undernourished causing low child’s birth weight, may induce number of health problems in child’s adult life one of which is being infertile.
Especially for females, an important factor is body built – healthy weight, being generally fit and even thinner waistline help to maintain fertility on a high level. On the opposite – obesity and unhealthy lifestyle can cause severe damages to fertility and cause not only general problems but also difficulties to procreate due to causing hormonal abnormalities. However too much exercise and drastic weight loss may as well cause the decrease of the level of oestrogen and as a result lower fertility so it is important to maintain the state of balance in terms of weight level and amount of physical activities. Unbalanced diet can cause infertility, but there are dietary substances harmless at a glance that lower oestrogen level which are for instance coffee, tea (caffeine products) and soy containing phytoestrogens that replace actual hormones. For both sexes drinking alcohol, smoking, being overweight and suffering from sleep deprivation cause hormonal problems and as a result lower chances for conception.
Among the diseases that induce infertility most important are direct reproductive organs illnesses or anatomic abnormalities, insufficiency or poor quality of gametes as well as hormones shortages. Other main infertility factors are thyroid problems (mainly hypothyroidism), diabetes and other metabolic diseases, untreated gluten intolerance, immune system disorders, hyperprolactinemia which is an excessively elevated level of prolactin and infections that are systemic or effect directly female and male gonads.
Many infertility factors are possible to eliminate. Factors, such as obesity, wrong diet, stimulants and bad habits, sleep deficiency or unhealthy lifestyle are what can be altered and improved in order to obtain high level of fertility. If those are the only problems that the couple need to face, simple guidance of doctor dealing with fertility issues will be enough. The situation is more complex if there are other infertility factors diagnosed – then the proper attendance of infertility treatment facilities’ specialists may be indispensable not only for reproductive reasons but also for general health condition. Then it is recommended to look for necessary help at fertility clinics in home country or abroad. Good option for those who take into consideration infertility treatment in other country are INVICTA Fertility Clinics specialising in the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of infertility that can pride themselves in success rate exceeding European and UK standards (more: click).