Understanding the fertility of both you and your partner is vital to a successful pregnancy. Both men and women experience a range of fertility problems, and I’m here to help you understand your body and work towards your fertility goals.
What causes female infertility?
There are three main reproductive organs that rule female fertility: the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and the uterus.
A wide range of conditions can affect any one of these organs. I’m here to help you to diagnose your fertility issues so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented.
Ovulation is when an egg (ovum) is released from your ovaries. A normal cycle is at a frequency of 21-35 days and if you’re not this regular, it may mean you’re not ovulating optimally.
There is a range of conditions which can disturb normal ovarian function including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diminished ovarian reserve, premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), and stress-induced irregular periods or amenorrhea.
Fallopian tube issues
Ensuring your fallopian tubes are functioning normally is also vital. Fallopian tube dysfunction, usually due to a blockage or swelling, is another potential cause of female infertility. Tubal occlusion (which is a partial or full tubal blockage) is potentially caused by a history of pelvic inflammation or previous surgery.
We may need to scan your uterus and fallopian tubes, through an ultrasound (HyCoSY) or x-ray (hysterosalpingogram or HSG). Laparoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat fallopian tube issues.
Fibroids and other abnormalities in the uterus can also contribute to female infertility. If I suspect fibroids or other anatomic abnormalities of the uterus, I may investigate via a specific ultrasound – sonohystogram – and suggest a plan for treatment.
There are also many other factors that may impact a female’s fertility health. One we hear about a lot is age. As women age, their eggs become less healthy. Furthermore, with increasing age the number of eggs available declines, and health conditions that might affect fertility become more likely.
Also, the lifestyle you lead can risk your fertility. For example smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, extreme physical or emotional stress and significant weight fluctuations can wreak havoc on your fertility.
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What causes male infertility?
Many people are surprised to hear that men can play an equal part when it comes to infertility. A few of the factors for men include;
No, Low or Slow Sperm
Sperm can generally survive for 3 to 5 days, which means there is a limited time frame for the sperm to reach the waiting egg. If the sperm don’t exist, are slow movers or are low in count, they may not be able to fertilise the egg.
Abnormal Sperm Morphology (abnormally shaped sperm)
Abnormally shaped sperm also have a reduced ability to (a) fertilise eggs and (b) produce viable embryos. Lifestyle changes may improve sperm morphology.
Blocked vas deferens (tube)
Blockages in the tubes or the absence of tubes leading the sperm away from the testes can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate. This can be caused by past injuries or even be present since birth. Sometimes the blockage can be fixed, but in most cases sperm are taken via medical aspiration and used in an ICSI cycle (injection of a single sperm into an egg).
Sperm DNA Fragmentation
Sperm DNA fragmentation, both reduces the chance of producing a pregnancy and increases the chance of miscarriage. Sperm DNA damage can be caused by cigarette smoking, age, infrequent ejaculation and testicular hyperthermia – varicocoele, prolonged sitting, and excessive exercise (especially running and cycling).
Other factors for infertility in men can include anti-sperm antibodies, age, lifestyle choices and genetic causes.
To truly understand and optimise your fertility, it is best to speak to a professional. Book in to see me below!