Updated: June 2, 2020 1:02:17 pm
Infertility is a term used after a failure to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. This condition affects approximately 10-15 per cent of couples in their reproductive ages; nearly one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving. The good news, however, is that about 84 per cent of couples will conceive naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex, especially around the time of ovulation.
Factors that can affect fertility
* Age – Female fertility and male fertility declines with age; in women, the biggest decrease in fertility begins during the mid-30s.
* Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – Several STIs, including chlamydia can affect fertility.
* Smoking – This can affect fertility in both sexes. Smoking (including passive smoking) affects a woman’s chance of conceiving, while in men there’s an association between smoking and reduced semen quality.
* Alcohol – For women, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum; for men, drinking too much alcohol can affect the quality of sperm.
* Weight – Being overweight or obese (having a BMI of 30 or over) reduces fertility; in women, being overweight or severely underweight can affect ovulation.
* Stress – It can affect your relationship with your partner and cause a loss of sex drive and in severe cases, stress may also affect ovulation and sperm production.
* Environmental factors – Exposure to certain pesticides, solvents and metals has been shown to affect fertility, particularly in men.
Here are some of the common causes of infertility
Common causes in women: Hormone disorders that affect ovulation or release of eggs from the ovaries, for example, polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, hyper or hypothyroidism, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis and early menopause.
Common causes in men: Problems with delivery of the sperm, for example, premature ejaculation, abnormal sperm production or function and overexposure to environmental factors such as pesticides and other chemicals, says Dr Prathima Reddy, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist – Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bangalore. Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and taking medications to treat bacterial infections, high blood pressure and depression also can affect fertility. Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can raise body temperature and may affect sperm production.
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