Common Causes of Infertility: Adenomyosis, Age, and Other Factors
Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which lines the uterus, grows into the outer muscular tissue of the uterus. The condition is more likely to affect women with high levels of estrogen, and may have a higher prevalence in women who have had one or more children. Adenomyosis is a structural disorder, rather than a hormonal disorder, and can contribute to infertility. In many cases, adenomyosis symptoms can be treated with medications or surgery.
Age affects male and female fertility. Female fertility declines progressively, usually beginning at age 30. After age 35, fertility begins to decline at a faster rate, and the likelihood of genetic mutations and deformities increases. Male patients' sperm count and motility begins to decline with age as well, making natural fertilization increasingly difficult. Patients who are concerned about becoming pregnant in their mid to late 30s should consider speaking with a fertility specialist to learn more about their options.
Cancer, along with some of its treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can greatly diminish or damage a patient's eggs or sperm. Many patients elect to cryopreserve, or freeze, their healthy eggs or sperm so they can be used in the future. Working together, oncologists and fertility specialists can determine the best option for each patient.
Blood-clotting disorders can have a substantial impact on a patient's fertility. Excessive clotting is associated with recurrent miscarriage, and may also increase the risk of slow fetal growth or high blood pressure. If you have a blood clotting disorder or experience blood clots during pregnancy, Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health can help you explore your options and avoid pregnancy-related complications.
Endometriosis involves irregular cell tissue growth on the uterus. The cell layer that normally lines the uterine wall grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis may result in the development of scar tissue on the fallopian tubes, pelvic inflammation, and other complications, which may hinder fertility. Treatment options for fertility patients include ovulation stimulation, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and surgery.
While many factors that cause infertility are out of a patient's control, some can be improved with lifestyle changes. Overweight and generally unhealthy patients have increased rates of infertility. Additionally, patients who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively, and use drugs can greatly decrease their fertility. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, exercising, and avoiding harmful substances, patients can improve their fertility.
There can be several causes of infertility in men. A physical blockage can prevent sperm from leaving the testes, traveling through the reproductive organs, and fertilizing an egg. Male infertility can also involve problems with sperm quality and count; men with a low sperm count, or a high percentage of non-motile or abnormally-shaped sperm, are less likely to conceive. Several fertility treatments are available to treat male factor infertility, including sperm aspiration and IVF. Meet with one of our specialists to discuss your possible infertility causes.
Miscarriage occurs when a woman spontaneously loses a fetus in the first half of her pregnancy. Miscarriage happens in about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies, although some pregnancies may result in miscarriages before a patient knows that she is pregnant. In many cases, miscarriage occurs because a fetus is developing abnormally. In others, some physiological or hormonal factors contribute to miscarriage. In addition to helping you understand the possible causes of your miscarriage, we can provide treatment to increase your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Women normally ovulate and release an egg once per month. Ovulation disorders can prevent the ovaries from properly producing or releasing an egg. By monitoring a female's ovulation cycle, our fertility specialists can determine if ovulation problems may be contributing to infertility. In some cases, ovulation can be induced with medication, or we can perform intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF to increase the chances of conception.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of female infertility. PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which a female produces excess androgens, which are considered a male sex hormone. Androgen can affect the frequency and success of ovulation. Many women with PCOS have fewer periods each year or no periods at all. Once PCOS has been diagnosed with blood work, fertility specialists aim to regulate the patient's ovulation cycle and androgen levels.
Overactive and underactive thyroids can cause ovulation disorders such as PCOS. Thyroid conditions are diagnosed using the thyroid stimulating hormone test. There are several medications and hormones that can regulate thyroid production to increase your chances of conception and a successful pregnancy.
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes can prevent the sperm from meeting the egg, or prevent the embryo from reaching the uterus. This condition is known as tubal factor infertility. Treatment options for tubal factor infertility include surgery and IVF. Surgery can be performed to correct mildly to moderately damaged tubes, allowing patients to become pregnant naturally. IVF entirely bypasses the part of fertilization that includes the fallopian tubes, and can be performed on those with mildly to badly damaged fallopian tubes.