Understanding Infertility

 

Infertility means difficulty in conceiving despite having regular unprotected(not using contraception) coitus for 12 months.

Infertility can be either-

Primary: when the couple hasn’t conceived in the past

Secondary: when the couple has conceived in the past

In causing infertility females account for 33 %, males for 20 %, both male & female for 39 % and in 8 % no cause for infertility is found.

Therefore, it is usually worth seeing an infertility specialist if you have not conceived after one year of trying.

To conceive, an ovum (Egg) from the woman has to be fertilised by a sperm from the man and the zygote has to be implanted in the uterus.

An ovum is released from the ovary once in a menstrual cycle when a woman ovulates. This usually occurs once a month between 12 and 16 days from the start of her last period if she has a regular monthly cycle of 28-30 days. The ovum travels down the fallopian tube where it is fertilised by a sperm.

Sperm enters during coitus into the vagina travels through the cervix and the sperm swims into the Fallopian tubes. If there are sperm in the fallopian tubes then one sperm fertilizes the ovum to develop into an embryo. The embryo travels down into the uterus and gets implanted (attaches) to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) at the fundus. The embryo then grows and matures into a baby after 9 months.

In treating infertility artificial reproductive technology is used to help patients conceive which include IUI, IVF and ICSI most commonly.