The Many Causes Of Infertility

It is a pity, yet nothing is far from the truth that most couples seeking pregnancy have little or no knowledge about the causes of infertility generally not to talk of the cause specific to them.

A wise man once said that knowing the root cause of a problem is the best solution to that particular problem. When the source of a problem is known, we can boldly say, a solution is on the way, but without knowing the cause of a problem, it may be difficult to solve such.

Talking about causes of infertility, society at large focuses more on the female gender and asks questions mostly about the female causes of infertility. It is important to note however, that there are male causes of infertility as well as others that may not be related to a particular gender. 

The process of conception may seem to come very easy for some people without the second act of sex while for other people, much time will be needed to achieve conception.

When conception is not coming at all after about 1yr 6 months, we have to start exploring causes. The causes of infertility are said to consist of 30%  female causes, 30% male causes, 10% causes related to both partners, 25% unexplained causes and 5% other causes. 

What are  the male causes of infertility? 

  1. Erectile dysfunction: This is of varying types and could be due to many causes, it is implicated in infertility if it is affecting effective deposit of sperm in the vaginal such as those that affect erections and timely ejaculation.
  2. Sperm abnormalities: Any alteration in the quality and quantities of sperm may interfere with the fertility process. 

These are the root causes of infertility in men. There are some factors that might predispose men to either low sperm count or abnormal sperm production. These factors include: 

  1. Occupation: sitting down so much in a long distance traveling can affect sperm production. This applies to men whose occupation requires long distance travel.
  2. Past history of genital infection e.g gonorrhea and mumps that affected his testicle when he was a boy. 
  3. Surgery done around the genitals: The procedure may have some things do directly or indirectly with the male gonad and surrounding structures. 
  4. Exposure to radiation for a long time. Radiation causes mutation leading to abnormal changes in the structure or sperm. 
  5. Varicocele or a hernia: Varicocele is an abnormal out-pocketing of the blood vessels around the testicle while hernia is the protrusion of an organ from the abdomen down to the scrotum. 
  6. Unknown factors, not many things can be explained by science.

The female causes of infertility. 

Female hormonal imbalance as evidenced by

  • Abnormal menstrual or ovulation cycle evidenced by few cycles or abnormal bleeding. 
  • Anovulation: lack of ovulation 
  • Milky discharge from breast 

Important conditions under hormonal imbalance also include luteal phase deficiency, having to do with deficiency of progesterone or simply a non response of the uterine lining to progesterone. 

2. Thyroid hormone imbalance possibly accompanied with neck swelling and visual disturbances. Other symptoms will be evident enough, for example loss of weight or abnormal weight gain, shaking of hands, excessive sweaty or redness of palm, hearing of your heart beats and heat or cold intolerance.

  1. Tubal and Uterine causes: This could be as a result of, 
  • Poorly treated pelvic inflammatory diseases causing tubal blockage or gumming together of the uterus. 
  • Past history of tubal surgeries that has damaged the tubes for example tubal pregnancy leading to surgery. Any surgery at all in the lower part of the abdomen may inadvertently affect the tubes. 
  • Previous history of  dilatation and curettage . Overzealous curettage to remove products of conception can cause the womb to heal abnormally gumming together or reduce significantly, a healthy lining of the womb. 
  • Past history of serious infection after the birth of a child. 
  • Past history of Uterine surgeries. 
  • Abnormal structure of the uterus, Ovaries and vaginal. Some people are born with these. 
  • Fibroid blocking the inner opening of the fallopian tubes or so large enough to occupy the Uterine space. Fibroid in itself is not usually a cause of infertility.

4. Ovarian causes commonly polycystic Ovarian syndrome causing imbalance in necessary hormones, a very long menstrual cycle, few menses. This as evidenced by

  •  Possible glucose intolerance, this can be suspected in someone with family history of diabetes. 
  • Facial pimples. 
  • Deep male voice. 
  • Male pattern of hair distribution. 
  • Sometimes excessive weight gain and upper body fat distribution. 
  • Ultrasound scan showing an Ovary like rosary beads. 

5. Other causes: past history of appendicitis, typhoid perforation, Smoking, alcohol, Nutrients deficiency, Physical or emotional stress, Exposure to radiation or dangerous chemicals, Use of contraceptives, Anti sperm antibodies , Hostility of the cervical mucus, Lack of adequate knowledge of ovulation and fertility.

6. Congenital or genetic abnormalities

7. Unknown causes. Again, some causes cannot be explained.

Combined male and female causes.

  1. Type of marriage, a polygamous home in which the man rarely have time for one of the wives. 
  2. Distance between couples, man and wife living far away from each other. 
  3. Lack of knowledge of ovulation period, tracking and menstrual cycle 
  4. Inadequacy of sex, frequency of sex lower than twice a week. 

I wrote this because recently, a lady got pregnant after many years of waiting, this happened just a few weeks after receiving a lecture I gave on some necessary skills needed for fertility to take place. The truth is she wished she knew those things earlier. To end this, I will say, many of these causes have solutions that will come easily if the problem is known. 

Dr. Bolanle Aderehinwo. Visit her website for more special health topics and tips


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