In our overview of MALE infertility, we talk about how men deny their own infertility and place the emotional burden on their wives/partners. Women too, experience issues with fertility.
Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant, with regular sexual intercourse for at least a year with no success.
For a woman to get pregnant, in addition to her own good health, her partner must be fertile and contribute viable sperm. If in doubt, be sure to get a semen analysis done.
Men struggle to comprehend female infertility and fall short in their ability to offer their partners support. We have put together a summary to help men navigate this fundamental challenge.
1. In order to get pregnant, a woman must ovulate regularly, have open fallopian tubes and a healthy uterus for the embryo to grow.
2. Her ovaries must produce and release an egg and an irregular menstrual cycle (too long, too short or absent) means that she isn’t ovulating.
3. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland secrete reproductive hormones. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), excessive prolactin (reduces estrogen production), dysfunction of the hypothalamus, a hormonal imbalance or premature ovarian failure may affect ovulation.
4. Damage or disease that affects the fallopian tube will result in tubal infertility.
5. Uterine or cervical issues may affect fertility and increase the likelihood of a miscarriage.
6. Endometriosis, an often-painful condition where the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the womb, may also affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
7. Several additional factors including Age, Weight, Substance Use (alcohol, tobacco, drugs), Sexually Transmitted Diseases (active or recently diagnosed), Stress and Caffeine Intake increase the risk of infertility.
Make sure to encourage your wife/partner to consult with a doctor or qualified medical care professional when in doubt. IVF expert Dr. Sudhir Ajja talks about how men can emotionally support their wives through this trying time in his article, ‘Overcoming the War of Psychology and Sex’.
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