Fertility is like that two-member balancing act you see at the circus. The one where a pair of performers seesaw on either end of a wooden plank, striking the perfect balance as they hold on for dear life.
Blame it on movies or the media, but there is a common misperception that infertility is like a game of Truth or Dare that always lands on the woman. But that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, only about one-third of all infertility cases are truly attributed to the female partner, with an equal proportion of cases attributed to the male partner. The remaining one-third of the pie is composed of cases of unexplained infertility or where both partners exhibit fertility issues.
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If you've been experiencing problems conceiving, assess how long you've been trying. If you're over 35 years of age and haven't seen success for at least six months, you may want to visit a fertility specialist to have a thorough evaluation performed. If you're below 35, the recommended window before seeing a specialist is one year. Of course, in both cases, regular, unprotected intercourse during this time is typically a precursor to fertility treatment.
Some forms of infertility cannot be prevented because they may be inherited and may, therefore, be unavoidable. However, there are environmental factors that may trigger infertility. Many of these can be overcome with effective lifestyle changes or medical treatment.
For a woman, 35 marks the midpoint along her fertility curve. After 35, fertility declines rapidly and pregnancy in later years may be impeded by low-quality eggs or other medical problems. Male fertility also diminishes over time, with men over 40 usually displaying lower fertility potential. Medical disorders are known to occur in the offspring of older couples, with psychiatric problems and cancers posing as risks.
A smoking partner is more likely to fall prey to infertility. On average, fertility treatments respond less to couples where either or both partners smoke. Smoking can also lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, low sperm count and erectile dysfunction.
Alcohol is a no-no during pregnancy so it's worth abstaining even before you conceive to prepare your body in the best way. Alcohol consumption can give rise to birth defects and reduce sperm count and motility.
If you're overweight or underweight, it's time you revisited your daily diet. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, in turn affecting fertility. Women who are underweight or whose diets are low-calorie or severely under-portioned may also experience suppressed bodily functions.
Everything in moderation, they say. And this couldn't hold truer for exercise. Inadequate exercise can cause obesity, leading to infertility. Conversely, too much exercise can also be a bad thing. Ovulatory disorders are associated with women who exercise excessively.
Aside from general factors, here is a look at some of the possible causes that may cause difficulty in conceiving in both men and women.
Infertility can be disheartening and it is important to acknowledge the situation in time if there's something wrong. Getting help can be your first step to starting a family. If you're unsure whose end of the scale is weighing you down as a couple, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist to seek an answer. On Cloudnine, we'll help you perfect your balancing act.
Must Read: Diagnosis of Male and Female Infertility