Islamabad: Somehow, fertility issues are seen as a ‘woman’s problem’. Yet it takes two to make a baby, and problems in the man are just as likely to be the cause of fertility difficulties as those in women. Malefactors now account for 30pc of fertility problems – the same as female factors.
In the remaining 40 pc of cases, the reason for the problem is either a combination of both or something which cannot be identified – ‘unexplained’ infertility.
Sperm counts in the average British male have fallen by almost half in the past 60 years. Many experts blame this fall on an increase in environmental chemicals that have weak estrogen effects, such as DDT. An increase in estrogen levels in the general water supply, due to use of the oral contraceptive pill, has also been implicated.
Infertility in Female and Male Treatment
Millions of healthy, active sperm are required in order for just one to penetrate into a woman’s egg. Many men have adequate sperm counts – but only just. Not only are overall counts going down, but many men are producing large numbers of abnormal sperm. If current trends continue, many more men will find they are infertile.
There are increasing problems in women, too. As many as one in 14 young women is infected with chlamydia, but sadly, many have no symptoms and are unaware they are affected. All too often the first sign of the infection is pelvic pain – an indication that the infection has spread up from the cervix through the womb to the fallopian tubes.
This causes inflammation, and scarring, which can permanently damage and block the tubes, leading to infertility. Though men can maintain their fertility to a ripe old age, women become less fertile the older they become. After 35, the chances of a woman conceiving fall at a dramatic rate.
More women work than ever before, and increasing numbers choose to delay starting a family until established in their careers.
This makes fertility problems more likely and is thought to be a significant factor in the falling birth rate in the UK.
Advances in medical treatments mean it is technically possible for many more couples with fertility problems than ever before to conceive a baby. However, ironically, the current cash crisis in the NHS means that, in practice, many couples are denied any treatment at all.
Fifteen years ago, treatments with drugs to induce ovulation, or surgery for blocked fallopian tubes, were available on the NHS. Now, whether you are able to have treatment is likely to depend on your postcode and your bank balance.
Those with straightforward ovulation problems can consider themselves relatively lucky, as treatments for this are usually available without too many restrictions.
However, the best treatment for those with blocked fallopian tubes, or the increasing numbers with unexplained infertility, is IVF. source