Infertility is the inability of a person (male or female) to reproduce naturally. World Health Organisation defines infertility as a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse (and there is no other reason, such as breastfeeding or postpartum amenorrhoea). Primary infertility is infertility in a couple who have never had a child. Secondary infertility is failure to conceive following a previous pregnancy.
Infertility is a major concern for married couples desiring to have children. Infertility has psychological and social impact on the couple. It can cause personal sufferings of the couple. Even in the society, couples unable to bear children are not looked upon in a good way. Inability to conceive bears a stigma, especially for the females. Infertility has more psychological effect on females as inability to experience motherhood pulls them into depression.
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Causes of infertility is different in males and females. Infertility may be caused due to genetic mutations, poorly developed sex organs or hormonal imbalances in the body.
Males: The main cause of male infertility is low semen quality. Either the amount of semen produced is insufficient to cause fertilisation or the sperm produced are not viable. This is caused either due to DNA damage, poorly developed testes, hormonal imbalances or blockage of the man’s duct system.
Female: A woman unable to conceive is called infertile. The reasons for infertility in females are quite diverse. Main reasons include hormonal imbalances, production of non-viable gametes, obstruction in duct system, ovulation problems, tubal blockage and uterine problems. Uterine problems make the female unable to carry the pregnancy to full term even if she achieves normal fertilisation.
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) TREATMENT
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) techniques have proven to be a boon for such infertile couples. It has shown such couples a guaranteed way to have children and to complete their families. IVF techniques include a number of procedures such as ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection), ZIFT (Zygote Intra Fallopian Tube Transfer), embryo transfer and artificial insemination. Fallopian Tube blockages in females and blockages in Vas deference, testicular ducts and penile duct of males can be removed by simple surgical procedures to make them fertile. Couples in which the male partner doesn’t produce quality and viable semen, such couples can opt for sperm donation to have children. Certain females are genetically viable and healthy to bear a child but are unable to conceive due to hormonal imbalances in their body. These hormonal imbalances come in way of maturation and release of egg from her ovary. Such females are given hormone therapy to help them have normal ovulation and ultimately conceive. Females who are normal otherwise but could not conceive due to uterine issues can opt to have children via surrogacy.