Reasons for infertility

There are many reasons for infertiliy in which many are very common and can be cured very easily, but some in rare cases are difficult to cure. Both man and woman can suffer with infertility when they are trying to conceive a baby and sometimes even when both are normal there are some factors which can contribute towards failing to conceive a baby, some of the reasons are discuss below.

Females commonly suffer with this infertility problem, First reason for infertility is the age factor, as years passes by, each year’s potential of producing quantity of eggs is lowered and that leads to woman infertility, as woman enters in their thirties the possibilities of getting pregnant start to decrease and after mid thirty, it decreases with speed. There are many problems in reproductive system which causes woman infertility like uterine fibroids,  Endometriosis, tubal obstructions, and ovulation disorders etc.

About 10 to 30 percent percentage of males, have problems of infertility due to which they fail to conceive a baby. There are many common causes of male infertility like anatomical obstruction, sperm production disorder or medical Infertilty Sucks issue like immunological disorder, Of course there are other factors which leads towards infertility in male like lack of exercise or movement, low quality or junk diet, drugs and smoking and unhealthy lifestyle.

It is often possible to recover from infertility and with few diagnostic tests, you can easily determine the obvious reasons for infertility and if both man and woman try their best after knowing their problems, in other words struggle together towards fertility then it can be cured easily.

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How do you know if you are infertile? The medical textbook definition of infertility is the inability to conceive even after trying for a year.

Are you infertile ?

” So, when are you planning to have a baby ? ” This is the commonest question most newly married couples in India are asked – sometimes even as soon as they have returned from the honeymoon ! There is a lot of pressure on couples to have a baby, especially in traditional families, where the wife’s role is still seen to be one of perpetuating the family name by producing heirs.

Many couples still naively expect they will get pregnant the very first month they try ( the result of watching too many Hindi films , perhaps !) – and are concerned when a pregnancy does not occur. All of us go through a brief interlude of doubt and concern when we do not achieve pregnancy the very first month we try and we start wondering about our fertility.

Before worrying, remember that in a single menstrual cycle, the chance of a perfectly normal couple achieving a successful pregnancy is only about 25%, even if they have sex every single day . This is called their fecundity which describes their fertility potential . Humans are not very efficient at producing babies ! There are many reasons for this, including the fact that some eggs don’t fertilize and some of the fertilized eggs don’t grow well in the early developmental stage. Getting pregnant is a game of odds – it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette and it’s impossible to predict when an individual couple will get pregnant ! However, over a period of a year , the chance of a successful pregnancy is between 80% and 90%; so that 7 out of 8 couples will be pregnant within a year. These are the normal “fertile” couples – and the rest are “labelled ” infertile – the medical textbook definition of infertility being the inability to conceive even after trying for a year. Couples who have never had a child are said to have “primary infertility” ; those who have become pregnant at least once but are unable to conceive again are said to have “secondary infertility.”

The chances of a couple getting pregnant in a given month will depend upon many things, and the most important of these are: o The age of the woman. As the biologic clock ticks on, the number of eggs and their quality start decreasing o Frequency of intercourse. While there is no “normal” frequency for sex, the “optimal” frequency of intercourse if you are trying to get pregnant is about 3 times a week in the “fertile period”. Simply stated, the more sex the better ! Couples who have intercourse less frequently have a diminished chance of conceiving. o “Trying time” – that is, how long the couple have been trying to get pregnant. This is an important concept. The longer a couple has been trying to conceive without success, the lesser their chances of getting pregnant without medical help. o The presence of fertility problems.

What happens when a couple has a fertility problem? The chance of their getting pregnant depends upon a number of variables multipled together. Consider a couple where both the husband and wife have a condition that impairs their fertility. For example, the husband’s fertility, based on a reduced sperm count is 50 percent of normal. His wife ovulates only in 50 percent of cycles; and one of her fallopian tubes is blocked. With three relative infertility factors, their chance of conception is 0.5 (sperm count) X 0.5 (ovulation factor) less X 0.5 (tubal factor) = 0.125% or 12.5% of normal. Since the chance of conception in normal fertile couples is only 25% in any one cycle, the probability of pregnancy in any given month in the case of this couple without treatment is only 3% (0.125 X 25 = 0.03125)! Even if they kept on trying for 5 years, their chance of conceiving on their own would be 60% only. Thus, infertility problems multiply together and magnify the odds against a couple achieving a pregnancy. This is why it is important to correct or improve each partner’s contributing infertility factors as much as possible in order to maximise the chances of conception. If infertile couples had 300 years in which to breed, most wives would get pregnant without any treatment at all ! Of course, time is at a premium, so the odds need to be improved – and this is where medical treatment comes in. When should you start worrying and seek medical advise? If you have been having sexual intercourse two or three times a week at about the time of ovulation, without any form of birth control for a year or more and are not pregnant, you meet the definition of being infertile. Pregnancy may still occur spontaneously, but from a statistical point of view, the chances are decreasing and you may now want to start thinking about seeking medical help. There is no “right” time to do so – and if it is causing you anxiety and worry, then you should consult a doctor. Even though you may be embarrassed and feel that you are the only ones in the world with the problem, you are not alone. Many couples experience infertility and many can be helped.

Unfortunately, while infertility is always an important problem, it is usually never an urgent one. This often means that couples keep on putting off going to the doctor – ” we’ll take care of it next month” . Tragically, many find that time flies, and before they realize it, their chances of getting pregnant have started to decline, even before they have had a chance to take treatment properly. Remember that everything in life comes back – except for time !

A note of caution….. There are certain conditions that warrant seeing a doctor sooner: * Periods at three-week (or less) intervals. * No period for longer than three months. * Irregular periods * A history of pelvic infection. * Two or more miscarriages. * Women over the age of 35 – time is now at a premium ! * Men who have had prostate infections. * Men whose testes are not felt in the scrotum

Tips for Self-help :

Before seeking medical help, remember some of the things you can do to enhance your own fertility potential. Body weight, diet and exercise. Proper diet and exercise are important for optimal reproductive function and women who are significantly overweight or underweight can have difficulty getting pregnant. Although most of a woman’s estrogen is manufactured in her ovaries, 30% is produced in fat cells. Because a normal hormonal balance is essential for the process of conception, it is not surprising that extreme weight levels, either high or low, can contribute to infertility. Body fat levels that are 10% to 15% above normal can contribute to infertility, with an overload of estrogen throwing off the reproductive cycle. Body fat levels 10% to 15% below normal can completely shut down the reproductive process, so that women with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, or those who are on very low-calorie or restrictive diets are at risk, especially if their periods are irregular. Female athletes, marathon runners, dancers, and others who exercise very intensely may also find that their menstrual cycle is abnormal and their fertility is impaired. Stop smoking. Cigarette smoking has been associated with a decreased sperm count in men. Women who smoke also take longer to conceive. Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol (beer and wine as well as hard liquor) intake in men has been associated with low sperm counts. Review your medications. A number of medications, including some of those used to treat ulcer problems and high blood pressure, can influence a man’s sperm count. If you are taking any medications, talk with your doctor about whether or not it can affect your fertility. Many medications taken during early pregnancy can affect the fetus. It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are attempting to become pregnant before taking prescription medications or over the counter medications, such as aspirin, antihistamines, or diet pills. Stop abusing drugs. Drugs such as marijuana and anabolic steroids decrease sperm counts. If you have used drugs, discuss this with your doctor. Both partners should stop using any illicit drugs if they want a healthy baby. Limit your caffeine (tea, soft drinks and coffee) intake. Frequency of intercourse. The simple rule is – as often as you like; but the more often you have sex, the better your chances. Thus, for couples who have sex only on weekends (often the price they pay for a heavy work schedule) the chance of having sex on the fertile preovulatory day is only one-third that of couples who have sex every other day – which means they may take three times as long to conceive. Many couples complain that they are too stressed out to have frequent sex. Here are some simple measures you can take to increase sexual frequency. 1. Use sexual toys like vibrators or body massagers, to make sex more fun 2. Using a lubricant like liquid paraffin can help to make sex more exciting 3. Playing sex games can help – try taking turns seducing each other ! 4. I tell all my patients – it’s much more fun making a baby in your bedroom than coming to me ! (And think of all the money you’ll be saving – it’s like being paid to make love to your wife !) 5. Viagra can also be helpful for some couples.

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Timing of intercourse. Unlike animals, who know when to have sex in order to conceive (because the female is in “heat” or estrus when she ovulates), most couples have no idea when the woman ovulates. The window of opportunity during which a woman can get pregnant every month is called her “fertile phase” – and is about 4-5 days before ovulation occurs. Timing intercourse during the “fertile period” ( before ovulation) is important and can be easily learnt . However, some couples are so anxious about having sex at exactly the right time that they may abstain for a whole week prior to the “ovulatory day ” and often the doctor is the culprit in this overrigorous scheduling of sex. This overattention can be counterproductive (because of the anxiety and stress it generates) and is not advisable. As long as the sperm are going in the vagina, it makes no difference which day they go in , so you can have sex daily as well, if you so desire!

Position and technique of intercourse. Pigs are very efficient at conserving semen – the boar literally screws his penis into the vagina of the sow, obtaining a tight lock prior to ejaculation, to ensure that no semen leaks out. Humans do not have such well-designed mechanisms and perhaps this is because they are really not necessary. Leakage of semen after intercourse is completely normal. While many women worry that this means that they are not having sex properly or that their body is rejecting the sperm, actually leakage is a good sign it means that the semen is being correctly deposited in the vagina ! Of course, you can only see what leaks out and not what goes in ! Most doctors advise a male superior position; and also advise that the woman remain lying down for at least 5 minutes after sex; and not wash or douche afterwards. A number of products used for lubrication during intercourse, such as petroleum jelly or vaginal cream, have been shown to affect sperm quality. Therefore, these products should be avoided if you are trying to get pregnant (a suitable alternative is liquid paraffin).

Balancing a career and fertility :

Women pursuing a career often have a hard time balancing their biological urge to have a baby and the demands of their professional career. Unfortunately, Indian companies still do not give a high priority to family building, and many bosses frown on women employees who are trying to get pregnant, because they are concerned that this will cause them to spend more energy on their family, and detract from their ability to perform their job efficiently. For a minority, putting off getting pregnant means that their fertility declines as they age, and they often regret their earlier decision to postpone childbearing. Professionals often have a harder time coming to terms with their infertility, because this is usually the first time they are forced to confront their own biological frailty and limitations.

Which is the “right time” to plan a baby ?

While there can be no simple answer to this question, remember that a woman’s fertility is maximal between the ages of 20 and 30. Beyond the age of 30, fertility starts to decline; and this drop is quite sharp after the age of 35; and precipitate after the age of 38. From a purely biological point of view, nature has designed women’s bodies so that they have babies between the ages of 20 and 35. However, the right time to have a baby is a very personal and individual decision, which each couple needs to make for themselves. Public anxiety over infertility is fueled by countless magazine articles warning couples not to wait too long to start a family. As a result we now see many patients who are “pre-infertile” who assume they’ll have trouble conceiving even before difficulties actually arise just because they are more than 30 years old !

Is fertility lower at present?

Has the fertility of couples declined in modern times? Possibly. The reasons for this include: 1. the increasing age of women at the time of marriage and childbearing 2. the increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs which damage the reproductive tract in both men and women 3. decreasing sperm counts in men which is a global phenomenon. An interesting observation made recently has been that men’s sperm counts worldwide have been falling in the last few decades . Whether this is due to environmental pollution or to the stresses of modern day life remains unclear.

The good news is that there is definitely an increasing awareness about infertility in society today. It is no longer a taboo topic, and couples, supported by their families, are much more willing to seek medical assistance.

Where to get help?

Most couples consult their family physician who will refer them to an obstetrician – gynecologist when infertility is a concern. This first visit should include both husband and wife. The doctor will usually outline the possible causes of infertility, and provide an evaluation plan. The first step should be to achieve an accurate diagnosis to try to find out why pregnancy isn’t occurring. Once a diagnosis has been determined, the couple and physician should talk again about a treatment plan. For difficult problems, referral to an infertility specialist may be suggested. Some studies show that it may actually be more cost – effective for couple to seek treatment by an infertility specialist right at the outset. This may be because an infertility specialist can design and implement a treatment plan more efficiently than a general gynecologist.

 

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Causes of Failure to Ovulate

Ovulatory disorders are one of the most common reasons why women are unable to conceive, and account for 30% of women’s infertility.  Fortunately, approximately 70% of these cases can be successfully treated by the use of drugs such as Clomiphene and Menogan/Repronex. The causes of failed ovulation can be categorized as follows:

 

 

 

(1) Hormonal Problems
      These are the most common causes of anovulation.  The process of ovulation depends upon a complex balance of
      hormones and their interactions to be successful, and any disruption in this process can hinder ovulation.  There are three
      main sources causing this problem:

Failure to produce mature eggs

In approximately 50% of the cases of anovulation, the ovaries do not produce normal follicles inwhich the eggs can mature.  Ovulation is rare if the eggs are immature and the chance of fertilization becomes almost nonexistent.  Polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common disorder responsible for this problem, includes symptoms such as amenorrhoea, hirsutism, anovulation and infertility.  This syndrome is characterized by a reduced production of FSH, and normal or increased levels of LH, oestrogen and testosterone.  The current hypothesis is that the suppression of FSH associated with this condition causes only partial development of ovarian follicles, and follicular cysts can be detected in an ultrasound scan.  The affected ovary often becomes surrounded with a smooth white capsule and is double its normal size.  The increased level of oestrogen raises the risk of breast cancer.

Malfunction of the hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain responsible for sending signals to the pituitary gland, which, in turn, sends hormonal stimuli to the ovaries in the form of FSH and LH to initiate egg maturation.  If the hypothalamus fails to trigger and control this process, immature eggs will result.  This is the cause of ovarian failure in 20% of cases.

Malfunction of the pituitary gland

The pituitary’s responsibility lies in producing and secreting FSH and LH.  The ovaries will be unable to ovulate properly if either too much or too little of these substances is produced.  This can occur due to physical injury, a tumor or if there is a chemical imbalance in the pituitary.

(2) Scarred Ovaries
      Physical damage to the ovaries may result in failed ovulation. For example, extensive, invasive, or multiple surgeries, for
      repeated ovarian cysts may cause the capsule of the ovary to become damaged or scarred, such that follicles cannot mature
      properly and ovulation does not occur.  Infection may also have this impact.

(3) Premature Menopause
      This presents a rare and as of yet unexplainable cause of anovulation.  Some women cease menstruation and begin
      menopause before normal age.  It is hypothesized that their natural supply of eggs has been depleted or that the majority
      of  cases occur in extremely athletic women with a long history of low body weight and extensive exercise.  There is also
      a genetic possibility for this condition.

(4) Follicle Problems
     Although currently unexplained, “unruptured follicle syndrome” occurs in women who produce a normal follicle, with an egg
     inside of it, every month yet the follicle fails to rupture.  The egg, therefore, remains inside the ovary and proper ovulation
     does not occur.

Causes of Poorly Functioning Fallopian Tubes

Tubal disease affects approximately 25% of infertile couples and varies widely, ranging from mild adhesions to complete tubal blockage.  Treatment for tubal disease is most commonly surgery and, owing to the advances in microsurgery and lasers, success rates (defined as the number of women who become pregnant within one year of surgery) are as high as 30% overall,
with certain procedures having success rates up to 65%.  The main causes of tubal damage include:

(1) Infection
     Caused by both bacteria and viruses and usually transmitted sexually, these infections commonly cause inflammation
     resulting in scarring and damage.  A specific example is Hydrosalpnix, a condition in which the fallopian tube is occluded at
     both ends and fluid collects in the tube.

(2) Abdominal Diseases
      The most common of these are appendicitis and colitis, causing inflammation of the abdominal cavity which can affect the
      fallopian tubes and lead to scarring and blockage.

(3) Previous Surgeries
     This is an important cause of tubal disease and damage.  Pelvic or abdominal surgery can result in adhesions that alter the
     tubes in such a way that eggs cannot travel through them.

(4) Ectopic Pregnancy
      This is a pregnancy that occurs in the tube itself and, even if carefully and successfully overcome, may cause tubal damage
      and is a potentially life-threatening condition.

(5) Congenital Defects
      In rare cases, women may be born with tubal abnormalities, usually associated with uterus irregularities.

Endometriosis

Approximately 10% of infertile couples are affected by endometriosis.  Endometriosis affects five million US women, 6-7% of all females.  In fact, 30-40% of patients with endometriosis are infertile.  This is two to three times the rate of infertility in the general population.  For women with endometriosis, the monthly fecundity (chance of getting pregnant) diminishes by 12 to 36%.  This condition is characterized by excessive growth of the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium.  Growth occurs not only in the uterus but also elsewhere in the abdomen, such as in the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the pelvic peritoneum.  A positive diagnosis can only be made by diagnostic laparoscopy, a test that allows the physician to view the uterus, fallopian tubes, and pelvic cavity directly.  The symptoms often associated with endometriosis include heavy, painful and long menstrual periods, urinary urgency, rectal bleeding and premenstrual spotting.  Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms at all, owing to the fact that there is no correlation between the extent of the disease and the severity of the symptoms.  The long term cumulative pregnancy rates are normal in patients with minimal endometriosis and normal anatomy.  Current studies demonstrate that pregnancy rates are not improved by treating minimal endometriosis.

Additional Factors

(1) Other variables that may cause infertility in women:

  • At least 10% of all cases of female infertility are caused by an abnormal uterus.  Conditions such as fibroid, polyps and adenomyosis may lead to obstruction of the uterus and Fallopian tubes.
  • Congenital abnormalities, such as septate uterus, may lead to recurrent miscarriages or the inability to conceive.
  • Approximately 3% of couples face infertility due to problems with the femaleís cervical mucus.  The mucus needs to be of a certain consistency and available in adequate amounts for sperm to swim easily within it.  The most common reason for abnormal cervical mucus is a hormone imbalance, namely too little estrogen or too much progesterone.

(2)  Behavioral Factors:

       It is well-known that certain personal habits and lifestyle factors impact health; many of these same factors may limit a
       couple’s ability to conceive.  Fortunately, however, many of these variables can be regulated to increase not only the
       chances of conceiving but also one’s overall health.

  • Diet and Exercise

Optimal reproductive functioning requires both proper diet and appropriate levels of exercise.  Women who are significantly overweight or underweight may have difficulty becoming pregnant.

  • Smoking

Cigarette smoking has been shown to lower sperm counts in men and increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low-birth-weight babies for women.  Smoking by either partner reduces the chance of conceiving with each cycle, either naturally or by IVF, by one-third.

  • Alcohol

Alcohol intake greatly increases the risk of birth defects for women and, if in high enough levels in the motherís blood, may cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Alcohol also affects sperm counts in men.

  • Drugs

Drugs, such as marijuana and anabolic steroids, may impact sperm counts in men.  Cocaine use in pregnant women may cause severe retardations and kidney problems in the baby and is perhaps the worst possible drug to abuse while pregnant. Recreational drug use should be avoided, both when trying to conceive and when pregnant.

(3)  Environmental and Occupational Factors:
       The ability to conceive may be affected by exposure to various toxins or chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding
       environment.  Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions, infertility or sterility are called reproductive
       toxins.  Disorders of infertility, reproduction, spontaneous abortion, and teratogenesis are among the top ten work-related
       diseases and injuries in the U.S. today.  Despite the fact that considerable controversy exists regarding the impacts of
       toxins on fertility, four chemicals are now being regulated based on their documented infringements on conception.

  • Lead

Exposure to lead sources has been proven to negatively impact fertility in humans.  Lead can produce teratospermias (abnormal sperm) and is thought to be an abortifacient, or substance that causes artificial abortion.

  • Medical Treatments and Materials

Repeated exposure to radiation, ranging from simple x-rays to chemotherapy, has been shown to alter sperm production, as well as contribute to a wide array of ovarian problems.

  • Ethylene Oxide

A chemical used both in the sterilization of surgical instruments and in the manufacturing of certain pesticides, ethylene oxide may cause birth defects in early pregnancy and has the potential to provoke early miscarriage.

  • Dibromochloropropane (DBCP)

Handling the chemicals found in pesticides, such as DBCP, can cause ovarian problems, leading to a variety of health conditions, like early menopause, that may directly impact fertility.

 

Source: http://www.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/New%20Ways%20of%20Making%20Babies/Causefem.htm

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Reasons for infertility are are found after extensive infertility tests in about 85% of couples, about 1/4 in men only, 1/4 in women only, and 50% in both men and women. Most of these tests can be completed within 4-6 weeks. After infertility testing about 85% of couples will have one or more reasons for their infertility. When no cause is found, the diagnosis is “unexplained infertility”.

  1. Ovulation problems: PCOS, egg quality, and female age issues (about 30% of all infertility)
  2. Tubal infertility: Adhesions, infections, and endometriosis (about 25% of infertility)
  3. Sperm problems: Not enough, decreased motility and morphology(about 25% of infertility)
  4. Unexplained infertility: When all tests done were normal but you still can’t get pregnant (about 15% of infertility)

 

Other, less common causes of infertility

  • Infertility associated with immunological problems
  • Uterine problems
  • Previous tubal ligation surgery – tied tubes
  • Previous vasectomy surgery

 

Treatment of female and male infertility:

  • Insemination – IUI
  • In vitro fertilization - IVF
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection – ICSI
  • Assisted hatching
  • IVF with blastocyst transfer
  • Donor sperm insemination
  • Egg donation – IVF using donor eggs
  • Laparoscopy for infertility
  • Hysteroscopy for infertility
  • Induction of ovulation for infertility
  • Ovarian stimulation
  • Tubal surgery for damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
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In medicine, a risk factor is something that raises the risk of developing a condition, disease or symptom. For example, obese people are more likely to develop diabetes type 2 compared to people of normal weight; therefore, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2.

    • Age - a woman’s fertility starts to drop after she is about 32 years old, and continues doing so. A 50-year-old man is usually less fertile than a man in his 20s (male fertility progressively drops after the age of 40).

 

    • Smoking - smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women. Smoking may also undermine the effects of fertility treatment. Even when a woman gets pregnant, if she smokes she has a greater risk of miscarriage.

 

    • Alcohol consumption - a woman’s pregnancy can be seriously affected by any amount of alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse may lower male fertility. Moderate alcohol consumption has not been shown to lower fertility in most men, but is thought to lower fertility in men who already have a low sperm count.

 

    • Being obese or overweight - in industrialized countries overweight/obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are often found to be the principal causes of female infertility. An overweight man has a higher risk of having abnormal sperm.

 

    • Eating disorders - women who become seriously underweight as a result of an eating disorder may have fertility problems.

 

    • Being vegan - if you are a strict vegan you must make sure your intake of iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamin B-12 are adequate, otherwise your fertility may become affected.

 

    • Over-exercising - a woman who exercises for more than seven hours each week may have ovulation problems.

 

    • Not exercising - leading a sedentary lifestyle is sometimes linked to lower fertility in both men and women.

 

    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes, as well as making the man’s scrotum become inflamed. Some other STIs may also cause infertility.

 

    • Exposure to some chemicals - some pesticides, herbicides, metals (lead) and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both men and women.

 

    • Mental stress - studies indicate that female ovulation and sperm production may be affected by mental stress. If at least one partner is stressed it is possible that the frequency of sexual intercourse is less, resulting in a lower chance of conception.
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Fertility Test: One Effective Way to Ensure Pregnancy

From the early generations up to the contemporary times, infertility is a problem that continuously presses on individuals of all times. Infertility is a medical and social concern that dawn on almost everybody regardless of the Infertility in Womeneconomic and social statuses, age, religion, color, and race. As far as medical science is concerned, infertility is a disease that affects the reproductive system. Infertility on either of the parties can cause a severe trauma to both the psychological and emotional well-beings of both the male and the female partner.

Couples feel all the happier when the news of pregnancy hits them. They feel almost complete by the mere thought that their beloved child is on the way. The husbands somewhat become more careful and more loving to their wives. On the other hand, the expectant mothers are more health-conscious as they do want to secure that their baby will be healthy. The moment of truth now lies in the couple’s capacity to conceive. Both partners may seem normal and health-wise. But there are still millions of cases when fertility seems to be far within reach of plenty of married individuals.

Some women are blessed with the gift of getting pregnant hassle-free while there are those who face traumas and a lot other difficulties to conceive. Women who don’t easily get pregnant must face the fact that there are a lot of factors which may bring about a difficulty in their fertility. Among the many reasons are one’s physical condition, age, and stress.

Are you experiencing various difficulties in getting pregnant? Have you tried all methods but still your efforts are for nothing? It may have been several years since you’ve tried conceiving but then there is no positive result that greets both of you. Now you should come to terms with understanding the truth that women are all different. But to make things easy for you, the medical society makes available the necessary tools for you to take the fertility test.

Types of Fertility Test

Infertility TestsThe fertility test allows you to know the very reason as to why you find it hard to get pregnant. You may consult your most trusted fertility specialist for this matter.

The Hormone Testing

Various blood tests taken in diverse times are required for the hormone testing. The test is chiefly for the detection of the normal production of hormone. The test hence evaluates the quantity of progesterone you possess and if you will be able to sustain a pregnancy. One of the blood tests done is to verify your prolactin level. It is the hormone that produces the breast milk. Another test is to examine how your thyroid functions.

The Ovulation Test

For this process, your gynecologist will be looking into the regularity of your menstrual cycle. The tool to be used is called the ovulation prediction kit.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Cultures

This test is performed in order to detect the possible presence of these viruses which are possible causes of infertility. They can be prevented but then its detection is difficult.

The Sperm Analysis

The test is conducted to your partner to see the quality and count of the sperm.Sperm Count

The fertility test is one way which helps your doctor detect where the problem lies. Getting pregnant may be possible when the mistake in your body system is corrected.

From the early generations up to the contemporary times, infertility is a problem that continuously presses on individuals of all times. Infertility is a medical and social concern that dawn on almost everybody regardless of the economic and social statuses, age, religion, color, and race. As far as medical science is concerned, infertility is a disease that affects the reproductive system. Infertility on either of the parties can cause a severe trauma to both the psychological and emotional well-beings of both the male and the female partner.

Couples feel all the happier when the news of pregnancy hits them. They feel almost complete by the mere thought that their beloved child is on the way. The husbands somewhat become more careful and more loving to their wives. On the other hand, the expectant mothers are more health-conscious as they do want to secure that their baby will be healthy. The moment of truth now lies in the couple’s capacity to conceive. Both partners may seem normal and health-wise. But there are still millions of cases when fertility seems to be far within reach of plenty of married individuals.

Some women are blessed with the gift of getting pregnant hassle-free while there are those who face traumas and a lot other difficulties to conceive. Women who don’t easily get pregnant must face the fact that there are a lot of factors which may bring about a difficulty in their fertility. Among the many reasons are one’s physical condition, age, and stress.

 

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Fertility Focused Intercourse: Mission Impossible?

Fertility Focused Intercourse

When it comes to a discussion of human fertility, the saying “life is not fair” seems to have extraordinary significance.  Couples who don’t want to get pregnant seem to be the ones that do and the ones that do—don’t.  Nobody knows this better than the couples that desperately want children but fail to conceive, month-after-month.  As the biological clock keeps on ticking, is there anything more that these couples can do? Absolutely!

Having interviewed hundreds of couples who have meticulously documented the woman’s fertile days and the days on which intercourse occurred, it has become crystal clear that:

(a) most couples think that they are doing a good job of having intercourse on all the right days, while

(b) the vast majority are completely missing the boat!

What is so difficult about Fertility Focused Intercourse?

Let’s start with the basics of female fertility cycles.  First, Women of normal fertility are not fertile very often.  From a biologic perspective, the most fertile woman on the planet can only conceive between 5 and 6 days per menstrual cycle.  A woman with reduced fertility might have significantly fewer days that are truly fertile, perhaps 2 or 3.  According to simple mathematics, if there are only 3 days per month to conceive, that is only 36 days at the end of the year.  Second, not all fertile days are created equal.  Intercourse that occurs on “the day” of ovulation can be assumed to be the most fertile day of the menstrual cycle, but even then the probability of achieving a pregnancy is never 100%!

When does ovulation occur?

Frequently, ovulation occurs approximately 14 after the first day of the menstrual period.  In a classic study by Vollman[1] of 14,848 menstrual cycles, ovulation as detected by a shift in basal body temperature occurred on exactly day 14 in only 1,591 cycles (10.7%).  Thus the exception here is far more common then the rule.  The 28-day normal menstrual cycle is simply a myth.

 The first step in fertility focused intercourse, therefore, is to do away with any notion of a calendar and to adopt a method of detecting when ovulation actually occurs.

There are many ways to “detect” the day of ovulation such as monitoring LH and estrogen in the urine or checking for cervical mucus and changes in the basal body temperature (just to name a few).  Unfortunately, however, there is no way to “observe” when ovulation actually occurs.  No matter what method you are using, the margin of error is at least plus or minus 2 to 3 days (sometimes more).  This means that if you rely on your favorite indicator of the day of ovulation to tell you when to have intercourse you may be missing the most important day to conceive on a regular basis.

What is the best way to time intercourse?

So what is the best advice?  Unfortunately, healthcare providers frequently offer some of the worst information.  For example, “we were told to have intercourse ‘every other day’ in order to ‘save sperm.’”  “Have intercourse every month starting on day 6 for 12 consecutive days.”  Or even worse, “because you do not know when the most fertile day is you would have to have intercourse every day to maximize your chances.” – nonsense!

From this brief discussion, the best advice is: (a) choose a method of fertility monitoring that will give you a few days notice that ovulation is going to occur.  This means monitoring estrogen levels directly or the effect of estrogen on saliva or cervical mucus. (b) When fertility begins, intercourse should occur daily until at least 2 days after ovulation is detected.  Once released, the egg can only be fertilized during a narrow window of approximately 24-hours.  You want to make sure that intercourse occurs on “the day” of ovulation in order to maximize your chances.

Intercourse Patterns

By now you have figured correctly that fertility focused intercourse is truly a “labor of love.”  It is not easy!  It might mean having intercourse as many as nine days in a row.  Even among couples with the strongest convictions for attempting to achieve pregnancy a few fertile days always seem to be missed.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

1. Plan in advance.  

If you were going to go on a fancy date with your spouse you would give a few days notice.  If you know the fertile days are coming, then you likewise will have time to prepare for them.

2. Get your priorities straight.  

If the doctor scheduled a procedure to test some aspect of your fertility you might take a day off work.  Furthermore, you would probably follow through even if you had a headache!  Should you not subject yourself to similar inconveniences when your most fertile days arrive!?

3. Get professional help.  

Believe it or not, there are professionals who can help you make sense of all this and give you real good advice.  The American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals is an excellent place to start.

If you and your spouse have been having difficulty achieving a pregnancy, then just remember—knowledge is power.  In this case, the right knowledge may even give you the power to procreate!  You may as well consider the question of when to have sex to be the single most important issue.  

Why?  Because there is no diagnostic medical procedure, test, or surgery that is going to make you pregnant.  If you just had surgery to correct a fertility problem, for example, and you are not following these instructions you could very well be making out badly on your investment.

Fertility focused intercourse may not be easy, but it is not mission impossible—it is mission responsible—and the responsibility falls upon both you and your spouse.

Have fun!

 

 

1. Vollman, R.F., The Menstrual Cycle. 1977, Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.

Copyright 2006 Majella.us

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Fertility And Your Fertile Soil

So just what are the ingredients for the fertile soil in a woman’s body that supports healthy pregnancy and birth? This is an important question for a woman trying to conceive. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has some solid contribution on the topic…First, a woman’s blood must be ample, nutritionally and hormonally healthy, and flowing unimpeded throughout the body and, in particular, the uterus. Second, her Chi needs to be flowing smoothly in all her organs, muscles and channels (including the uterus). Third, her mental and emotional energy system needs to be balanced in such a way that a woman trying to conceive, is enhancing her overall health versus burdening her overall health.Fertility and Your Fertile Soil

Whew, that’s a mouthful…

And what does it all mean? Well, let’s look at each piece individually.

Ample, nutritionally and hormonally healthy as well as, Flowing Unimpeded throughout the body Blood: In Chinese Medicine we refill our tank daily with energy or life force, via our food, drink and breath. We must sleep at night in order to repair, rebuild, regenerate and rejuvenate our entire system. This repair work requires a foundation of nourishment that we supply ourselves each day.

One of our energy systems in Chinese Medicine, The Earth System which includes the organs Spleen/Pancreas and Stomach, is responsible for receiving the food and drink we ingest, breaking it down into usable nourishment for the blood (called transformation in TCM), and then transporting nutrients, via the blood, to our entire body. Optimal function of our body can only be as good as the quality and quantity of the food we eat. Quality refers to how healthy, vital and nutrient-rich the food we eat is.

Quantity refers to the eating of food in proper portions. If we eat too little, we become deficient in nutrients. If we eat too much, our system becomes burdened in having to deal with the excess that cannot be transported or is unusable, for example excess sugar. If either deprivation of necessary nutrients, or over-burden becomes the norm, our system suffers greatly.

If deprived or over-burdened, at night, during rebuilding and regenerating, our system is mostly trying to keep up with robbing “Peter to pay Paul,” or figuring out what to do with the excess and repairing the breakdown in our system from the excess. This is quite a wasteful expenditure of our energy when we need our energy available each day and night for the important job of keeping our organs, tissues, hormones, and cells operating healthfully.

If misuse of our energy goes on over time, our soil may become infertile. We absolutely need healthy blood on a regular basis and we need this rich, nourished blood flowing throughout the uterus. When our blood becomes tired, lacks oxygen, or is nutritionally deficient, it can become sluggish, slow down and even stagnate. This means our smooth flow of blood is compromised, thus compromising fertility.

Chi - life energy flow for Your FertilityEnough Chi flowing smoothly in all organs, muscles and channels (including the uterus): Chi is a Chinese word for life force, or energy, or molecular energy. It is what we are made of in that, if we have no Chi, we have no life force. Simple stated, when we are born we have a full tank of Chi, and when the tank is empty, we die. While alive and during the reproductive years, it makes sense that in order to create a new life inside of you, you must have a reasonable life force yourself.  

If you don’t have enough Chi or life force in your own system, where do you think the Chi will come from to create a new life for 9 mos.?  Nature, and infinite wisdom, just knows that if a woman’s Chi tank is too low, then reproduction falls below the line of possibility. It’s a no-brainer, in that, for a fetus to grow it needs a certain amount of Chi and blood.

Mental and emotional energy systems need to be balanced in such a way that a woman trying to conceive, is enhancing her overall health versus burdening her overall health: Thoughts and emotions are as much Chi as your elbow or liver is. They are just a more subtle form of Chi. Much like the wind, in that, we don’t “see” wind, but it exists because we see the effects of wind even though it is invisible. This more subtle form of Chi, like our thoughts and emotions, are just as important as the food we eat.

Every time we think a thought or have an emotion, there is literally a chemical reaction in our body. To put it in simple terms, the by-product of these chemical reactions are either toxic and thus, burdensome to our system; or the by-product of these chemical reactions align with optimal functioning of our system.

When I teach a woman to observe herself in this more subtle form of Chi, it is often surprising to her that she is much more plagued with thoughts of fear, worry, or depression, in relation to her fertility, than she realized consciously. Some of it she was aware of, but the extent of it is more the eye-opener. The chemical by-product of these thoughts and emotions over a prolonged period of time, become burdensome to the system, contributing to a decreased flow of Chi and Blood. It requires practice to become aware, and then become intentional about our choice of thoughts.

“Ingredients,” or choices, are either enhancing or inhibiting our fertile soil. Either our fertility switch is ‘on’ or ‘off.’  No woman purposely turns her fertility switch off, but, unknowingly, she could be making choices, day after day, that are preventing optimal and fertile soil. Start where you’re at and begin making the best choices you can in order to fertilize your soil in such a way that pregnancy and healthy birth are a natural outcome.

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Female Infertility

“What is the essence of a woman?” This is one of the questions the judges asked during the 1994 Miss Universe competition. One contestant, Sushmita Sen, gave such a wonderful answer that she won the Miss Universe title that year. According to her, the essence of a woman is being a mother to a child and teaching him (or her) about sharing, caring and loving. Indeed, one of the main and most important roles of any woman is being a good mother to her children. However, not every woman is blessed with the ability to bear a child.

Pregnancy is one stage in life that almost every woman will undergo. Women, with their unique anatomy and physiology, are naturally built to be capable of producing life. For some reason, however, some women are not able to do this. This situation leads to various negative effects on a woman’s relationship with her partner and her self-concept. In response to this concern, different treatments or medications are already available for women to consider. However, some, if not all, of those treatments have certain disadvantages or side effects.
 
Based on a discussion about infertility posted at About.com, infertility can be caused by three main reasons. Those involving a woman’s anatomy are classified under structural issues, which can be problems occurring in the fallopian tube, uterus or cervix caused by blockage, fibroid or insufficient opening.
 
Another possible cause concerns the physiology of pregnancy — a bio-mechanical issue. Scar tissues that can cause blockage within the uterus and fallopian tube can hinder a woman from getting pregnant. Finally, infertility can originate from a primary problem with ovulation and is thus called an ovulatory issue. Hormonal abnormalities, the effect of some medications and other health problems can harm the functioning of the ovary and cause ovarian failure.
 
A woman’s inability to get pregnant can be very stressful not only to herself but also to her partner. Because it is expected of her to bear children, not being able to do so is considered a failure on her part. The pressure imposed on her by her partner and other people may add up to her stress and anxiety.
 
She may start blaming herself for this situation and develop a concept of herself as someone who is “damaged.” Her partner, on the other hand, may feel both disappointed and helpless faced with this problem. The stressfulness of their problem can cause negative changes in their mood and attitude. If the stress and anxiety of having this problem will not be dealt with properly, it can lead to frequent fighting between couples and possibly cause them to separate or divorce.
 
Despite the initial feeling of helplessness, couples may still find encouragement in seeking possible solutions to a woman’s infertility. Nowadays, medications like clomiphene citrate, follicle- stimulating hormone, and human menopausal gonadotropins are available in the market to stimulate ovulation in a woman. These treatments, however, have potential side effects which include multiple birth incidence, headaches or blurred vision, depression and mood swings, pelvic discomforts and ovarian cysts. Solution for structural and mechanical issues that cause infertility can be resolved mostly through surgery.
 
Another approach based on oriental medicine is also currently recognized as an effective treatment for female infertility. Methods included under this approach include acupuncture and herbal medicine. The goal of acupuncture is to open the blocked energy that prevents fertilization. This is also believed to help restore the balance among organs especially in the endocrine system.
 
On the other hand some herbal plants when ingested can increase the chances of pregnancy. These forms of treatment, however, can take a long time covering a period of approximately three to twelve months before it can be effective.
 
With all available options as treatment for infertility nowadays, women may still fulfill their yearning for motherhood. Despite the disadvantages or side effects of some medications, it is through careful consideration that women or couples should decide what to undergo. If, despite all alternatives, pregnancy is still not possible for some women, this does not necessarily mean losing their essence. After all, motherhood is not just attained biologically.
 
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Fertility and Well Baby – Case Histories

There are two events in my life that solidify my faith in the power of nutrition.These monuments will forever bring me back to that core belief that each of us has the ability to control who we are, what we choose to think, and what we choose to do with our health.

My family has an inherent weakness in the area of hormonal balance.  I have three aunts who were unable to bear children; my sister has been unable to conceive, even after trying fertility drugs and lazer surgery; and I had surgery years ago to enable me to have the children I longed for.  At this time, my surgery was called a ‘wedge resection’ and served to surgically remove a pie shaped section of each ovary so that the egg could penetrate the ovarian walls that had become thickened from fibroid cysts.
With this history in mind, I was not surprised when my daughter, Morgan, did not menstruate.  From the tender age of sixteen, her OB/GYN induced menstrual periods with the use of birth control pills.  Morgan detested this, and would put it off as long as possible.  The forced menstruation was debilitating, with agonizing cramps and heavy bleeding. Her doctor had also told Morgan that it was unlikely she would ever have children.
I began looking for an answer which would help Morgan to achieve a period naturally.I encouraged her to begin a program of pau d’arco, essiac tea, and shark cartilage to help dissolve the cysts on her ovaries. She also included a combination of female corrective herbs which included red raspberry, alfalfa, dong quai, blessed thistle, and black cohosh to target her reproductive system.  Along with this, Morgan took a combination of herbs to strengthen the entire endocrine system; particularly the pituitary gland which is the master conductor for our endocrine system.
Within three months Morgan began normal periods, without the heavy cramping and bleeding that was a side effect of the birth control pills.  She had mixed feelings about this; because she admitted to enjoying the freedom of not having to deal with menstruation for the better portion of each year.
At this point it seemed the victory was won.  Another point scored for the incredible  power of herbs to return the body to homeostasis. However, both my daughter and I had naively stopped short in realizing that this restored balance could presage further events.
When Morgan announced her pregnancy, my jaw dropped.  Her husband, who had learned to accept their lives as being childless, seemed dazed.   This baffled look he wore seemed plastered to his countenance from that day until the day their daughter, Sierra, was born.  I will never forget the glorious moment when the doctor held up the newborn and announced, “This is the healthiest looking baby I’ve seen in a long time.”
About this same time, my daughter-in-law was expecting her first child.  Wendy’s doctor sent her to a High-Risk Specialist after the ultra sound revealed only two channels in the umbilical cord, rather than three.  Two channels are meant to deliver nutrients to the fetus and one carries waste out of the womb.  The doctor explained their concern that the baby could be born with Down’s Syndrome, but would definitely be undersized, due to the missing umbilical channel.  Wendy was monitored closely with frequent ultra-sounds as well as comparative measurements taken of the baby’s head growth.
We knew it was imperative to get as much nutrition as possible through that single channel.  Wendy began taking raspberry leaf herb, alfalfa, kelp, and dandelion.  The alfalfa was taken in concentrated form as this herb directly feeds the pituitary gland, which in turn promotes growth.  Wendy was faithful in taking her supplements throughout her entire pregnancy.
I had the good fortune to be present at this granddaughter’s birth also.  The delivery room was filled with no less than eight hospital personnel as the time approached for the baby’s birth.  The staff were solicitous and kind; and they were fully prepared for a preemie.  When Wendy was in transition, and barely aware of comments around her, one of the doctors said to staff, “We don’t expect the baby to be over five pounds.”  I stood on the side, with my son’s mother-in-law, waiting anxiously as a chorus of medical students, nurses, and doctors chanted in unison, “push, push, push”.
Each time the baby’s head crowned, we held our breaths, and then the tiny wet head would disappear.  Again the chorus…..”push, push, push”.  Finally that triumphant moment came when the baby slipped out and everyone heaved a sigh of relief, and a shout of exhilaration.  Everyone feels as though they have somehow participated in, and not just observed, a miraculous event.
Kaitlynn was born, and she weighed a glorious 7.6 pounds, had perfect color, and was strong and healthy in every way.  The hospital preparations for an undersized, undernourished baby were not needed.  The comments around the room were, “Maybe there were three channels after all.”  So a portion of the umbilical cord was taken to the lab to be analyzed.  The result showed that, indeed, only two channels had been present.
Two beautiful granddaughters.  Uncertain beginnings…but with the help of proper nutrition, and positive thinking…..two very precious gifts.
The information in this article is intended for education purposes only.  It is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or
replace medical treatment.

 

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