Medically reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Shera.
WHAT IS INFERTILITY?
Most people will have the strong desire to conceive a child at some point during their lifetime. Understanding what defines normal fertility is important in helping a person, or couple, know when it is time to seek help. Most couples (approximately 85%) will achieve pregnancy within one year of trying.
As a result, infertility has come to be defined as the inability to conceive within 12 months of trying to have a baby or get pregnant.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INFERTILITY
It is not uncommon for people to experience signs of infertility. This may be stressful, as many people show no direct symptoms of it, until they try to conceive. It affects both men and women and thus, it is important to highlight some of the key features in both genders.
SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN:
- Pain during sex
- Heavy, long, or painful periods
- Dark or pale menstrual blood
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Underlying medical conditions
SYMPTOMS IN MEN:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Problems with ejaculation or ejaculate
- Low testosterone levels
- Change in testicular size
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CAUSES?
Some of the most common reasons are:
- Advancing maternal age
- Ovulation disorders
- Tubal occlusion (blockage)
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometrial polyps
- Male factors affecting sperm function
TESTS FOR INFERTILITY
Testing is extremely important to get to the root cause. Some of the commonly used tests are:
- History and physical examination
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- Laboratory testing
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
- Semen analysis
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS RELATED TO INFERTILITY?
Here are some of the most common myths that people tend to believe in,please note that NONE OF THEM ARE TRUE!
- Stress causes infertility (FALSE)
- Foods affect fertility (FALSE)
- Smoking is fine, as long as I quit when I’m pregnant (FALSE)
- Female age doesn’t matter as long as you are under 35 (FALSE)
- Male fertility does not decline with age (FALSE)
- Infertility is mostly a female issue (FALSE)
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
With the advancements in the field of medicine and science, a number of treatments are available if a couple finds themselves suffering from infertility issues. Here are some of the most commonly tried and tested treatments that have been successful for many:
- Educating the patient about it, and the various options available
- Medications to induce egg development and ovulation
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
If you or your partner find yourself in a dilemma of infertility, it is best to reach out to a doctor, seek treatment and various options that are available to combat this issue, there is no shame in it, it is a medical condition that can be treated and patients can be helped to overcome it.
Guest Credits: Hira Rehman