All you need to know about infertility

Sarah Parker
Authored by Sarah Parker
Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 13:28

Infertility is a word that many couples dread hearing. It is a word that has the ability to make us feel as if there is no hope and makes us think that becoming parents is not something that is possible for us. However, as with most issues we encounter in life, a little knowledge and understanding can go a long way to lifting your spirits and instilling hope. Here we take a look at the key questions that arise when it comes to finding out what you need to know about infertility in order to see that it need not be a barrier when it comes to realising your dreams of becoming parents.

What does infertility refer to?

Infertility is defined as a disease of the reproductive system that prevents conception.

What fertility treatment options do we have?

 Whilst infertility is not something that people welcome or want to experience, the good news is that there are ways to help you conceive as there are many specialists out there offering treatments to aid conception, such as a fertility clinic in London. The options available are referred to as assisted conception, and two most common are IVF and ICSI. You are likely to have heard of IVF, and perhaps know about ICSI. Both treatments are designed to support the fertilisation of the egg outside of the body before the embryo is implanted back into the womb. IVF involves taking a number of eggs and a number of sperm and mixing them together outside of the body in order to encourage fertilisation. IVF is used when the infertility lies with the female. ICSI involves injecting sperm directly into a single egg, and is most commonly used in response to male fertility as it leaves the sperm with little work of its own to do. Both methods are tried and tested and result in successful pregnancies for many couples. However, they are treatments that sometimes require a number of cycles to be worked through before they prove successful.

What are the common causes of infertility?

Female infertility is commonly caused by ovulatory dysfunction such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), tubal disease or endometriosis. PCOS prevents eggs from being released during the menstrual cycle and therefore results in a lack of eggs available for fertilisation. Tubal disease can range from mild adhesions on the fallopian tubes to full blockage of the tubes that prevent the fertilised egg from reaching the uterus. Endometriosis is characterised by excessive growth in the lining of the uterus, fallopian tubes and the bladder. The presence of excess tissue and scarring can prevent the fertilised egg from settling in the uterus.

The common causes of male infertility are related to sperm production, quality and mobility. A low sperm count means that there is a low concentration of sperm in the ejaculate and this means that the chance of an egg being fertilised is reduced. Abnormally shaped sperm struggle to move towards the egg and to enter it and in some rare cases the body can produce antibodies that work against the sperm being produced.

What can I do to increase the likelihood of pregnancy in relation to assisted conception?

Staying fit and well by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and developing a clear and positive state of mind are essential for healthy living as well as for healthy pregnancy. When your body is in optimal health your chances of conception are increased.