Causes and Diagnosis of Infertility

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There are many causes of female and male infertility that can make it difficult to have a baby.

Common Causes of Female Infertility:

1. Advanced Age:

Women approaching 40 should be very proactive about fertility treatment. Women who are over 37 should consider IVF as the first option of treatment and women over 40 should start with IVF without wasting time on other options.

2. Blocked Fallopian Tubes:

This problem can sometimes be diagnosed on regular ultrasound, but a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or a laparoscopy are the best ways to evaluate the tubes. Blocked tubes decrease the success of IVF and should be removed prior to treatment. 35% of infertility is caused by tubal problems.

3. Ovulation Problems:

Hormonal problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and tumors/cysts are some of the causes of abnormal ovulation. About 15% of infertile couples have a problem with normal ovulation.

4. Endometriosis: 

This is a very common cause of infertility. Symptoms of endometriosis include:

-pelvic pain
-short menstrual cycles
-heavy/abnormal bleeding
-painful bowel movements and intercourse

5. Problems of the cervix such as abnormal cervical mucus

6. Sperm Allergies

Common Causes of Male İnfertility:

1. Problems related to sperm production:

Infertility can be caused by low sperm count, or problems with the motility (movement) or morphology (appearance or shape) of the sperm.

2. Problems related to the structure of the man's reproductive organs:

Structural problems that block the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization can cause male infertility. These problems may be caused by scar tissue, varicose veins or infection or certain birth defects. 

Diagnosis of Infertility

There are a number of tests that can be done on the male and female partner to evaluate fertility.

The first step of fertility evaluation is usually a consultation with a reproductive specialist.

During the consultation, the doctor will review the medical history of the patient and analyze previous fertility treatment history, if any. This will help him determine what kind of infertility testing is needed.

Some methods to evaluate female fertility are:

-Hormone Tests

-Ultrasound exams

-Cervical mucus tests including a post-coital test (PCT)

-Hysterosalpinogram (HSG)

-Hysteroscopy

-Laparoscopy

-Endometrial Biopsy

Male fertility is evaluated through:

-Semen analysis

-Hormone tests