01 Apr Unexplained Female Infertility and its Management
The definition of infertility is attempting to become pregnant, with frequent intercourse, over a time period of one year without any success. In around 33 percent of cases, infertility is as a result of female factors and in another 33 percent of cases due to male factors. The remaining 33 percent of infertility is either not known or due to a combination of male and female factors.
Factors Essential for Conception
The following are factors that are very important for being able to become pregnant. Any issues affecting these factors can increase the likelihood of infertility.
- Females need to be able to ovulate – in order to become pregnant, the ovaries must be able to produce and release an egg every month. This process is referred to as ovulation.
- Male partners must have an adequate sperm count – there are numerous medical conditions, environmental factors, and health and lifestyle issues that can affect one’s sperm count and these need to be evaluated and ruled out or managed further.
- Regular intercourse is essential – having sexual intercourse regularly, especially during the mentioned period of ovulation increases the chances of becoming pregnant.
- The anatomy of the female reproductive tract should be normal – the egg produced by the female and the sperm from the male meet in the fallopian tubes so this area needs to be free from inflammation and not be obstructed or blocked. The uterus is where the fertilized embryo will have to implant so it should be healthy.
Factors Causing Infertility in Women
A number of problems can result in infertility in women such as:
- Hormonal imbalances which can be caused by conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which is associated with obesity and insulin resistance, hypothalamic dysfunction where the pituitary gland is dysfunctional, premature ovarian failure where the ovaries can’t produce eggs anymore, and increased prolactin levels in the body as a result of the mentioned pituitary gland releasing this hormone.
- Damage to the fallopian tubes results in them becoming obstructed and this reduces the chances of fertilization. This can be caused by pelvic inflammatory diseases such as sexually transmitted illnesses like gonorrhea or chlamydia, previous abdominal surgeries, and in patients who have previously had pelvic tuberculosis.
- Endometriosis can lead to infertility and this condition is associated with the development of uterine tissue in other areas of the female reproductive system.
- Uterine and cervical conditions such as polyps or benign tumors forming in these areas, or abnormal anatomy can affect implantation of an embryo or passage of sperm to the fallopian tube.
In some cases, the cause of infertility cannot be found and a treatment option for an underlying cause cannot be initiated. This problem may be corrected in time by itself but this should also not delay couples in seeking treatment options for infertility.
In cases where the possible cause of infertility can be determined, the treatment will depend on the specific cause. In cases where the cause of infertility cannot be found, then specific treatment options are available for couples struggling with this problem.
One of these includes intrauterine insemination where millions of healthy sperm are retrieved from the male partner and then placed inside the uterus close to the time when the female partner will start to ovulate. This increases the chances of the sperm traveling through to the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg.