Infertility - where does it come from and how to fight it?
In the last few decades, infertility ceased to be a marginal problem. Currently, about 15-20% of couples experience difficulties in getting pregnant, and the problem is escalating. The growing number of people who face decreased fertility has not escaped the attention of the World Health Organization, which already over 14 years ago included infertility on the list of social diseases.
If a couple fail to conceive within several months of trying, the suspicion of infertility arises spontaneously. One must stress, however, that not all couples who are unsuccessfully trying to conceive a child actually have a fertility problem. Sometimes the difficulties are temporary, for example when they are associated with poor health or a very stressful lifestyle. Of course, this cannot be determined by self-diagnosis - only after consultation with a specialist based on fertility test results of both partners the reliable assessment of the situation can be made.
How long can we try to conceive before a visit to a doctor is recommended?
It all depends on the woman’s age:
- If you are under 30, the chances of getting pregnant quickly are - at least in theory - really high. Consider consulting a specialist in the field of infertility treatment after a year of fruitless efforts for a child.
- After the thirtieth birthday, the female fertility decreases, therefore between 30 and 39 years of age, infertility should be suspected already after six months of failed attempts. This is a good time to visit your doctor - it is not worth postponing, because each month of delay means further decline in fertility.
- After the age of 39, the probability of getting pregnant by natural means is even smaller, so the soonest possible medical support will come in handy.
- Male fertility is a separate issue, but if your partner is over 40 years old and attempts to conceive do not bring the expected effects, it is recommended to analyse his semen as soon as possible.
What causes the problems with getting pregnant?
The main sources of female infertility include:
- lack of ovulation associated with hormonal and adrenal disorders;
- polycystic ovary syndrome;
- obstruction of the fallopian tubes;
- endometriosis (a disease manifested by the presence of the endometrium outside the uterus).
In men, infertility often is the result of several factors contributing to the deterioration of semen quality. A diet poor in nutrients, stressful lifestyle, stimulants and environmental pollution have negative impact on sperm count, viability and motility.
How should infertility be treated?
The treatment method should be adapted to the cause of fertility problems. If it is a disease that is the source of infertility, the effective therapy should increase the chances of pregnancy. When unsuccessful attempts at having a child are linked to an unhealthy diet and stress, improving nutrition and slowing the pace of life can tip the scales in favour of future parents.
Remember, however, that a healthy diet will not solve the problem of infertility when it is associated with obstructed fallopian tubes, endometriosis, lack of ovulation or very poor sperm parameters. In such cases, however, the techniques of assisted reproduction, such as cycle stimulation, insemination and IVF, will be of assistance.
What is insemination?
The term insemination is defined as introducing the previously prepared sperm obtained from a donor or partner into the uterine cavity. Insemination brings good results in couples who cannot conceive a child due to mild endometriosis, ejaculation disorders, slightly reduced sperm quality or the presence of so-called anti-sperm antibodies. This method is also used when it is not clear what exactly the cause of infertility is.
How does IVF work?
In turn, IVF is the fertilisation of an egg cell outside the woman’s body. The embryo which has a chance to grow is placed into the uterus. The major indications for IVF treatment include lack of ovulation, severe endometriosis, poor or even very poor sperm parameters, obstruction of the fallopian tubes and no specific cause of infertility diagnosed after a defined period of treatment. IVF is chosen also by couples who tried other methods of treatment and did not achieve the desired effect.
With infertility being no longer a taboo topic, the increasing number of couples decide to consult a specialist when, despite their efforts, they fail to expand their family using natural methods. They have at their disposal Polish fertility clinics; e.g. the Polish InviMed clinics have a higher IVF success rates than the European average.