Infertility (or subfertility) is defined as the inability of a couple to achieve fertilization after 12 months of free and unprotected sex.
The term infertility does not refer to an irreversible condition, but to a situation that can usually be solved.
(Absolute) sterility occurs only when there are permanent physical conditions that make fertilization or pregnancy impossible.
The percentage of sterile couples or couples suffering from absolute sterility is less than 10% in the Western world.
Causes of infertility
Environmental factors The quality of health has deteriorated significantly due to increasing pollution, exposure to industrial waste, toxic pesticides, increase in temperature, radiation and other factors
. This has a general effect on health and in some cases it can have a direct impact on male fertility.
Psychological factors (such as stress, work pressure, responsibility, failures and other negative influences) can eventually aggravate the situation or temporarily cause infertility.
Health factors There are many health-related factors
that influence this problem.
These factors affect both men and women and are:
- Problems with fallopian tubes or pelvis: clogged or blocked fallopian tubes, pelvic adhesions.
- Endometriosis: The endometrial tissue is located in other organs (bladder, intestine, etc.).
- Ovulation and hormone problems: absence or irregular ovulation, irregular menstrual periods, polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Cervical problems: Cervical mucus can hinder the passage of sperm due to estrogen deficiency, infections, damage to the cervical glands or, rarely, due to the fact that the woman develops antibodies against the sperm.
- Uterine problems: malformations of the uterus, fibroids or adhesions, as well as inflammatory factors of the endometrium (mucous membrane of the uterine cavity).
- Genetic problems: Turner syndrome or microdeletions of the X chromosome.
- Sperm antibodies: They reduce sperm’s ability to fertilize and can hinder passage in the female genital tract.
- Testicular problems
- High FSH concentration (follicle-stimulating hormone)
- Pain, swelling and incomplete development of the testicles
- Irregular dimensions of the two testicles
- Trauma and testicular distortion that can affect their function
- Premature ejaculation
- Sperm problems
- Abnormal sperm
- Oligospermia (reduction in the number of sperm in the seminal fluid)
- Low sperm mobility rate
- Testicular problems
- Hormonal disorders
- Low, high, or absent testosterone production
- Dysfunction of the sexual apparatus
- Erectile dysfunction
- Medications: Cancer therapies, chemotherapy and treatments for high blood pressure or high cholesterol are risk factors
- Transmissible STDs: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, papillomavirus – HPV can cause infertility
- Urinary and seminal tract infections: inflammation and infection of the seminal ducts can damage the sperm, seminal canals, prostate and seminal vesicles
- Infertility in men can be caused by disorders such as:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Sickle-cell anaemia
- Cystic fibrosis
Acquired or external factors There are some acquired factors
that should be discussed. Among these are decisions that are made mainly at a young age. Here are some of the causes:
- Smoking affects the quality of sperm.
2. Unhealthy lifestyle, including lack of exercise, lack of nutritious and unhealthy diet, abnormal sleep habits, etc. 3. Cycling: There are studies showing reduced fertility in cyclists who cycle at least 5 hours a week.
Finally, there is idiopathic infertility, that is, there are no reasons that cause this disorder.
Causes of sterility
Sterility in women
- Premature menopause
- Congenital absence of the uterus
Sterility in men
- Azoospermia (absence of sperm)
Sterility in couples
In some cases, both partners are sterile or subfertile and the sterility of the couple depends on the combination of these conditions.
In other cases, both partners are fertile, but the couple does not manage to achieve fertilization without medical help; the cause could be immunological or genetic.
Insomnia and infertility
Lack of sexual desire and fertility problems are just some of the side effects of sleep deprivation.
Women with sleep interruptions see hormonal imbalances.
Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating leptin, a hormone that promotes ovulation.
Sleep duration affects leptin levels.
Thus, leptin levels drop when a woman sleeps insufficiently.
Ovulation is suppressed and fertility problems occur.
The ovaries do not work properly without the appropriate leptin level and this causes difficulty getting pregnant.
Some other hormones associated with pregnancy that are depleted due to lack of sleep include progesterone, estrogen, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Diabetes and infertility
A study of male diabetic patients was conducted with 27 men suffering from type I diabetes (which occurs naturally as an autoimmune disease) and 29 male patients undergoing infertility therapy. None of the patients were both diabetic and infertile.
The study showed that both groups had similar scores in terms of sperm count and motility.
The diabetics had a slightly lower volume of sperm, but were still within acceptable limits.
The difference became apparent when the researchers examined the sperm for DNA damage.
They found that the sperm in the diabetic group had more DNA damage than the sperm in the group treated for infertility.
The female egg is able to repair some damage to the sperm, but the DNA damage of the diabetes group was too severe.
Even though not all of the diabetics’ sperm samples were damaged, it was a clear sign of a disrupted reproductive system that can cause infertility or sterility.
The sperm of men who are neither diabetic nor undergoing fertility therapy is likely to contain far healthier sperm.
The inability to conceive a child after one or more children are already present is called secondary sterility, while the inability to have children at all is primary sterility.
Causes of secondary sterility in men In men
, too, increased age may be responsible for infertility. After 35 years, the fertility rate in men decreases.
A low sperm count can be one of the main reasons for infertility.
In some cases, the sperm die or cannot swim, making fertilization difficult or impossible.
Some diseases and hormonal disorders can be an autoimmune reaction in which the body develops antibodies against sperm that subsequently die.
Erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders can be a reason for sterility.
There may be a decrease in the quality of sperm, leading to infertility. The origin of the disorders can be a disease, a wrong diet and lifestyle.
Diagnosis of infertility
The doctor to turn to for problems of male infertility is the andrologist.
The doctor performs a detailed physical examination to assess the pelvic organs (penis, prostate, testicles and scrotum).
Diagnostic tests for infertility and sterility
Laboratory tests for women and men may include:
- Bacteriological examination and analysis of urine — To detect infection.
- Dosage of the hormones FSH and LH — The hormone tests evaluate the levels of testosterone and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) to represent the overall hormone levels and the specific status of sperm production. Other hormone tests that can be done are those of serum LH and prolactin.
If an investigation is inconclusive after the initial assessment, a new investigation may be necessary.
The doctor may recommend one or more of the following examinations:
- Spermiogram — The assessment refers to sperm motility, shape and maturity, volume, ejaculation density, and the number of sperm currently present.
- Examination of sperm fructose — To determine whether fructose has passed sufficiently from the seminal vesicles to the sperm.
- Urine test after ejaculation — To determine if there is an obstacle or retrograde ejaculation.
- Examination of sperm for leukocytes — To determine if white blood cells are present in the semen.
- Morphology according to Kruger and the World Health Organization (WHO) — To closely study the shape and characteristics of sperm.
- Testing for sperm antibodies — To detect the presence of antibodies that may contribute to infertility.
- Sperm penetration test — To evaluate the ability of sperm to fertilize.
- Prostate ultrasound — To detect varicocele (varicose veins) or narrowing in the prostate canal, scrotum, seminiferous tubules, and ejaculation canal.
- Testicular biopsy — To determine a change in sperm production or an existing blockage.
- Genetic testing — To detect any chromosomal abnormalities in the person or to detect cystic fibrosis in men who lack the vas deferens.
- Transvaginal pelvic ultrasound: To assess the anatomy of the female reproductive system and to look for any malformations, fibroids, etc.
- Vaginal smear: To detect infections in the distal area of the reproductive system (vagina and cervix).
- Sonohysterography: In this examination, a sterile saline solution is injected into the uterine cavity to check the normal formation of the uterine cavity and the patency of the fallopian tubes.
- Three-dimensional ultrasound examination (3D echography) of the uterus: This is a representation of the intestines, which makes it possible to detect any congenital malformations of the uterus.
- Hysterosalpingography. This examination serves to detect malformations of the uterus. It is an X-ray of the uterus with contrast medium.
How to treat? Therapy and natural remedies for reversible infertility
Benefits of maca for fertility
Maca root is a supplement that contains many nutritious and valuable substances.
In men and women, it serves to maintain hormonal balance and eliminate the causes of infertility.
Regular consumption of maca root powder promotes remineralization of the body and is recommended for people with poorly nourished bodies. It helps to increase libido by increasing energy.
Those who regularly take maca may notice a significant increase in resistance.
This helps fight stress and depression and indirectly contributes to increased fertility.
Maca helps to improve physical resilience by reducing the effects of trauma and anxiety.
The main use of maca root is to promote hormonal balance, which is essential for maintaining fertility. This helps the body overcome hormone deficiency through synthesis. Women suffer from irregular cycles due to hormonal problems.
Maca is the best solution for regular menstrual bleeding and to eliminate the causes of infertility.
Since maca is rich in nutritious substances, it improves bodily functions. In men, it is used for erectile dysfunction, decreased sperm count, impaired sperm circulation and significantly improves sexual desire.
Some scientific studies show that acupuncture increases the likelihood of conception for fertile women, both with in vitro fertilization and with natural fertilization.
Acupuncture helps women who suffer from anxiety and stress.
Nutrition and diet
Healthy and unprocessed foods are important. According to Shelton’s natural medicine and hygienism, the main reason doctors work twice as much as they did 100 years ago is poor diet, which is high in sugar, dairy, meat, alcohol, and processed and refined products.
With the emergence of the food industry, the human diet has changed and moved from the countryside to the factories, but the body often suffers from a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals.
Therefore, one should consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes, which contain many antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, etc.) and little animal protein.
In this way, the body receives more energy and can better cope with the stress of daily life.
In addition, this diet has been shown to improve some less severe infertility disorders.
According to the blood type diet, the main culprits for infertility are milk and dairy products.
Crystals for male fertility
The blue pietersite is one of the best-known crystals for the fertility of men. Worn as a pendant, the pietersite can help solve sexual problems such as impotence.
Pyrite It is said that the pyrite
crystal awakens the male energy and stimulates the fertility. It is believed that pyrite promotes the healing of the reproductive system. It is believed to be an excellent remedy for male infertility and impotence.
Man says that this stone in the shape of a light brown egg is effective in healing infertility and impotence. The Linga stone, made from quartz, is said to transport male energy, increase sexual energy and help overcome fertility problems.
Ruby in zoisite This is a combination of ruby and zoisite
It is believed to bring energy for fertility.
It can help cure testicular problems that can affect fertility. This combination is considered one of the best to increase sexual energy.
- One of the easiest ways to use it is to carry these crystals with you. It is enough to put them in your pocket throughout the day and soon you can notice a positive change in your life.
- Many prefer to put the recommended stone under the pillow just before bedtime. If you want to wear the crystal as a piece of jewelry, it must touch the skin in order to transmit the energy.
- Another option is to take the crystal into the bathtub to take advantage of its healing properties.
Pharmacological and surgical therapy of infertility
Infertility treatments include:
Surgical intervention. For example, a varicocele can be corrected or a blocked vas deferens can be reopened by surgery.
Treatment of infections. An antibiotic can heal an infection of the reproductive tract, but not always restore fertility.
Therapy for problems with sexual intercourse. Medication or counseling can improve fertility in conditions such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.
Drug therapy and hormones. The doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy or medication in cases where infertility is due to too high or too low hormone levels, or where there are problems in the way the body uses the hormones.
Medical assisted reproduction technology (MAP)
There are different degrees of MAP:
- The first degree includes methods that support natural conception, so-called “in vivo” fertilization.
- Ovulation induction
- Intrauterine Insemination
- Second and third degrees consist of “in vitro” fertilization techniques, in which the meeting of the egg and sperm collected from the couple takes place in a laboratory.
In vitro fertilization methods are:
- IVF (in vitro fertilization): eggs and sperm are placed together in a dish of culture fluid and you wait until the sperm enter the egg naturally.
- ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection): Here, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg.
Outlook (prognosis) for patients with infertility
1 pair of 5 diagnosed with infertility can get pregnant without therapy.
More than half of fertile couples have a child after treatment without advanced techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).