Causes of fertility problems: Description
Causes of fertility problems about 85% of the couples who do not use contraception and have sexual intercourse regularly are thought to conceive within one year.
Infertility is the inability to conceive within 1 year of trying. Approximately 15% of couples are affected by the infertility. It was estimated that about 35% of infertility are of female origin, 35% – male origin and around 30% of infertility cases remain unexplained, although detailed examination may reveal the underlying problem.
The condition when a woman is unable to conceive or carry the child is known as a female infertility.
- WHO Group I Ovulation disorders – hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism
This disorder is caused by the insufficient production of the sex hormones – follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland. The condition may be caused by the anorexia, drugs intake, cranial tumors etc.
- WHO Group II Ovulation disorders – polycystic ovary syndrome
About 5% of females suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome.
- WHO Group III Ovulation disorders – ovarian failure
- WHO Group IV Ovulation disorders – hyperprolactinemia
Usually prolactin level in the blood may be increased due to the pituitary tumors.
Abnormalities of the reproductive organs
The female reproductive organs may appear abnormal. These abnormalities may be congenital or acquired due to infections (especially Chlamydia), endometriosis, fibroids (tumors in the endometrium), ovarian cysts or bowel disease.
Endometriosis may cause the development of the adhesions which interfere with the fertilization or the implantation of the fertilized oocyte.
Some women suffer from primary or secondary vaginismus that interferes with the normal sexual intercourse.
Advanced maternal age
Women are the most fertile until their 30s, then fertility decreases gradually.
Thyroid gland disorders
A concentration of the thyroid hormones may also affect the ability of the woman body to conceive and carry the pregnancy.
Male causes of fertility problems
Male infertility is usually caused by the low sperm concentration, the low mobility of the spermatozoa or their abnormalities. This may occur due to:
Primary testicular disease due to:
- Genetic abnormalities such as Y chromosome microdeletions or Klinefelter syndrome (XXY);
- Testicular maldescent (cryptorchidism);
- Testicular torsion;
- Infection or trauma;
- Testicular trauma, chemo- or radiotherapy applied to the groin;
Obstructive male causes of fertility problems occurs when a male reproductive tract is obstructed due to congenital disorders, inflammation or previous surgeries.
Varicocele is a condition when the veins of the scrotum appear enlarged. The increased temperature in the scrotum affects the spermatogenesis.
Autoimmune conditions – the body may develop the autoantibodies to the sperm after the surgery or trauma of the scrotum.
Endocrine disorders such as insufficient production of the pituitary hormones due to the brain tumors, trauma or Kallman’s syndrome. Bêtestes mellitus was also linked to infertility.
Environmental factors such as the exposure to radiation or certain chemicals may affect the sperm.
Some drugs may affect spermatogenesis and sperm function. These include chemotherapeutic agents, antifungal medicines, steroids, opiates, marijuana and sulfasalazine. Alcohol abuse and smoking also influences the sperm production.
Obesity and high cholesterol concentration may cause the problems to conceive.