Pregnancy Vivian | 04 May 2011 09:52 pm

Infertility – It’s Come a Long Way, Baby!

Did you know that it was not until 1879 that doctors finally considered that a man may have infertility problems? Until then, the woman was considered the cause of a couple not being able to have a baby.

Infertility is a disease involving the reproductive system. ‘Blaming’ a spouse for having an infertility problem makes about as much sense as blaming a child for having poor eyesight. Statistically, infertility and reproductive disease is shared equally by males and females.

Infertility is more common than one might think. In the United States alone, an estimated 10 percent of couples find that they are unable to conceive. Fortunately, science has come a long way in understanding the causes of infertility.

Hormonal imbalances, ‘female problems’ such as endometriosis, low or zero sperm count and lifestyle factors are just a few of the known causes of infertility. Smoking and alcohol consumption also contribute to a coupleŠŐ» inability to conceive. It has been discovered that infertility causes are shared by men and women equally.

Since the 1970s, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a major infertility treatment, succeeding where many other methods have failed. IVF is a technique in which egg cells collected from the ovaries are fertilized outside the woman’s body.

Hormone treatments, surgeries, medications and lifestyle changes may be used to treat infertility. These traditional procedures account for at least 85% of infertility treatments given to childless couples.

If you and your spouse have been unable to conceive for a year, the first thing to do is to visit your family doctor, who will conduct a physical examination of both partners to determine your general state of health and to evaluate any physical disorders that may be causing infertility.

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