Understanding Infertility




In a natural conception, during intercourse, the male ejaculates his semen (the fluid that contains the sperm cells) inside a female’s vagina during the ovulation cycle. If she releases an egg, then the fertilization will occur and it will derive in a pregnancy. Ovulation is a complex biochemical event controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the follicles in one of the ovaries in order for them to grow. The follicle produces another hormone called estrogen and contains a maturing egg. When an egg finally matures, the pituitary gland sends a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) that causes the follicle to rupture and the mature egg is ovulated. According to physicians, infertility is a disease, defined by the failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.


LEVELS OF INFERTILITY
  • Primary infertility: Infertility without any previous pregnancy.

  • Secondary infertility: Fertility problems occurring in a couple that has conceived on their own and had a child in the past. (with each other or previous partners)

  • Sterility: Generally, represents a reduced potential for pregnancy.



FEMALE INFERTILITY

Diagnosing infertility in a female patient may be a little bit complex. Therefore, the causes of infertility can be categorized per structure.

OVARIES

Ovulatory disorders are the most common diagnoses why the conception can’t be achieved. Fortunately, most of these cases can be treated by birth control pills or fertility drugs. As ovulation is a complex event, any disruption or decompensation of the orchestrating hormones can affect ovulation, therefore conception of a pregnancy. Amongst the common issues are anovulation, ovarian failure (premature menopause), ovarian scarring, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), malfunction of the hypothalamus, malfunction of the pituitary gland.

FALLOPIAN TUBES

Malfunctioning in fallopian tubes recalls a high percentage of infertility in female patients. As the natural fertilization is performed in these structures, been compromised, the conception doesn’t take place. Infertility of fallopian tubes ranks from mild adhesions to complete tubal blockage. Usually, the advised treatment is surgery, but this does not guarantee that the fallopian tubes will be functional after the procedure. The main causes of tubal damage are infections (result of a STD), hydrosalpinx, abdominal diseases (appendicitis or colitis), previous surgeries causing adhesions, scarring and blockage, ectopic pregnancies resulting in oophorectomy and congenital defects.

UTERUS

At least a 15% of all infertility cases are caused by an abnormal uterus. It ranks from conditions such as fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, endometriosis and obstruction of the uterine cavity. As well, abnormalities of congenital origin such as bicornuate uterus, if the septum is completely divided and won’t be able to hold a developing fetus.

CERVIX

Hormone unbalance may cause changes in the consistency of cervical mucus which difficults the sperm cells to swim easily within it.

OTHER FACTORS

Lifestyle and personal habits affect directly to infertility. Overweight and underweight can produce alterations on the ovulation cycle. Smoking, alcohol and drugs may impact in the generation of new cells. It is demonstrated in recent studies that smoking reduces the ovarian reserve of young fertile women. Stress is also a very important factor for infertility. Hormone induced stress interacts with the natural cycles and causes hormonal dysfunction affecting ovulation. In Med and ART we understand how stressing not been able to conceive has a major effect on our patient’s lives and that is why we are committed to bring the best quality care going step by step with you. Contact one of our agents for more information.

MALE INFERTILITY

Until recently, infertility was considered to be solely on the female side. Men also suffer from this disease and is important to diagnose the level of infertility to draw a proper protocol for the treatment. It is considered that up to 40% of the couple’s infertility is due to a male factor. The main male infertility factors are low sperm cell count, morphology abnormalities of the sperm cells, low sperm cells motility, absence of sperm cells in the semen due to van deferens blockage, genetic disorders or hormone dysfunctions. Sperm cells must be analyzed at the Andrology Laboratory in the clinic through a sperm analysis according to the WHO parameters.