You may have fertility issues or problems if you have not been able to get pregnant after trying to conceive without success for at least a period of 1 year.
A lot of couples thought that the next thing that comes after marriage will be a baby, and so they are expectant waiting to get a positive pregnancy test report month after month. Sometimes, this can take several months and for some, this can take several years.
If the months are passing by without a sign of pregnancy, then you may begin to wonder if there is a problem. The length of time couples wait to have a baby varies from couple to couple due to several factors we are going to look at.
One factor very important to discuss is age, if both couples are in their 20s or early 30s, you should expect the baby to be conceived in few months but in a situation where you are over 35, then you may have to try more and keep trying. Even if all is okay with your systems, the truth is that you have about 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month you try.
It is normal to think there is a problem after trying for some months without success because there are several factors or issues that may cause delay and hinder conception.
What Causes Female Infertility?
Female infertility can be caused by a number of factors, which include the following:
Hormonal Issues – Hormonal imbalance is the most common causes of ovulatory disorders which are one of the most common reasons why women are unable to conceive.
The ovulation process depends largely on the interactions and balance of the body hormones and when this process is interrupted can make it difficult for ovulation to occur. An ovulation problem occurs when eggs don’t mature in the ovaries or when the ovaries fail to release a mature egg.
Ovulatory disorder can result to ovarian cyst, which is a fluid-filled sac that forms in the ovaries. Also, the use of Clomiphene normally called Clomid has been shown to increase the risk for ovarian cyst to develop.
Fortunately, not all ovarian cysts can affect fertility unless when they become very large. Ovarian cysts that can affect your fertility include:
- Endometriomas (en-doe-me-tree-OH-muhs) (these are cysts caused by endometriosis)
- Ovarian cysts resulting from polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition marked by many small cysts in your ovaries, irregular periods and high levels of certain hormones)
Tubal Issues – The function of the fallopian tubes is to transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus, this is also where the sperm meets the egg cell and fertilizes the egg. Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes prevent sperm from getting to your egg and also prevent the fertilized egg from getting to your uterus.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infections (such as chlamydia) endometriosis and pelvic surgeries may lead to scar formation resulting in fallopian tube damage.
Endometriosis – Endometriosis is the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus usually in the abdomen or pelvis. These tissues are normally found in the lining of the uterus but now grow outside the uterus.
The symptoms often associated with endometriosis include heavy, painful and long menstrual periods, premenstrual spotting, pelvic pain and painful intercourse.
Uterine Issues – Conditions such as fibroid, polyps, and adenomyosis may lead to restrictions on the proper functioning of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. These conditions should be treated in a timely manner; women who do not treat such conditions on time will experience more difficulty in having babies.
Also, a few percentages of all cases of female infertility are caused by an abnormal anatomy of the uterus.
Cervical Issues – The mucus is vital when trying to conceive, it must be of a certain consistency and available in adequate amounts for sperm to be able to swim easily to fertilize the egg.
A good cervical mucus is the “fertile mucus” required for pregnancy to take place while abnormal cervical mucus will prevent sperm from passing through the cervical canal and results to “NO” pregnancy.
The most common reason for abnormal cervical mucus is hormonal imbalance; this could be too little estrogen or too much progesterone.
Unexplained Infertility – If there are no obvious reasons why you have not been able to get pregnant after all the test carried out is okay, this can be termed unexplained infertility, which means it cannot be explained why you have not been able to conceive.
What Causes Male Infertility?
More than 90% of male infertility cases are due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. Male infertility can be caused by a number of factors, which include the following:
Hormonal Imbalance – An imbalance in hormones for example in the pituitary and thyroid glands can cause infertility in men. The hypothalamus-pituitary endocrine system regulates the chain of hormonal events that enables testes to produce and effectively disseminate sperm; problems with hypothalamus-pituitary endocrine system can result to infertility in men. Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse can also lead to hormonal problems.
Infections and Diseases – Genital infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility in men. Also, some infections and diseases such as mumps, tuberculosis, brucellosis, gonorrhea, typhoid, influenza, smallpox, and syphilis can cause testicular atrophy, a medical condition in which the male reproductive organs (the testes) diminish in size and may be accompanied by loss of function.
Sperm Production Problems – This is when the man is not producing enough sperm or not producing sperm at all. This may be due to chromosomal or genetic causes (birth defects), undescended testes (failure of the testes to descend at birth), infections, torsion (twisting of the testis in scrotum), varicocele (varicose veins of the testes), medicines and chemicals, and radiation damage from repeated x-rays and chemotherapy.
Blockages – Blockages caused by birth defects or physical damage can prevent sperm from getting into the semen. Physical trauma to the testicles, prostate, and urethra can also cause infertility in men.
Retrograde Ejaculation – This is when semen doesn’t come out of the penis when a man ejaculates, but instead the semen goes into the bladder. This disorder can be caused by diabetes, certain medications, and surgery to the bladder, prostate, or urethra.
Other infertility issues that limit the chances for couples to conceive may include:
Personal Habit and Lifestyle Factors – Your personal habit and lifestyle greatly affect your general health and fertility; these factors may hinder a couple’s ability to conceive. This may have to do with being significantly overweight or underweight, regular consumption of alcohol or caffeine, smoking, poor diet and drugs. For example, drugs, such as marijuana and anabolic steroids may impact sperm counts in men.
Environmental and Occupational Factors – Chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding environment can accumulate toxins in the body systems limiting the ability for couples to conceive. These chemicals can hinder conception, cause birth defects, miscarriages, infertility or even sterility and are therefore called reproductive toxins.
Tests to Carry Out to Diagnose Fertility Issues
Fertility Tests for Women:
Pap Smear and Pelvic Examination – a basic gynecologist test to check for cervical cancer, problems with the cervix or sexually transmitted diseases.
Hormonal Profile – A blood test to check hormone levels
Imaging Tests (Pelvic Ultrasound) – To look for uterine diseases such as uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, uterine polyps, and cysts.
Ovulation Tests – To check if a woman is ovulating, especially for women with irregular or unsteady menstruation
Hysterosalpingogram also called an HSG –Dye is injected through the vagina to check for fallopian tube blockages and defects of the uterus, usually done just after a menstrual period
Transvaginal ultrasound – an ultrasound wand introduced into the vagina to take a closer look at the ovaries and uterus
Hysteroscopy – A thin, flexible tube with a camera on its lighted end is passed through the cervix into the uterus to check for problems with the uterus, and take tissue samples if need be
Laparoscopy – Small cuts made in the abdomen and tools including a camera inserted into the belly to evaluate the entire pelvis and possibly correct problems, such as endometriosis
Endometrial Biopsy – To check the lining of the uterus
In most cases, the pap smear, hormone testing, and pelvic ultrasound may be the only test to diagnose fertility issues, if these tests are okay, then further tests may be carried out.
Fertility Tests for Men:
Physical Examination – An urologist can perform a physical exam to check the penis and each testicle for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size.
Semen Analysis Test – To check the quality and quantity of the sperm in the semen, if there are problems with sperm motility (movement of the sperm) and morphology (form and structure).
Semen analysis test is able to check for sperm production, such as cases of azoospermia where no sperm are produced, or the sperm aren’t appearing in the semen and oligospermia where low sperm are produced.
If the first semen analysis result is normal, a second test may be necessary to confirm the results. Two normal tests usually are interpreted to mean that the man doesn’t have any significant infertility problems. If the semen analysis results are not normal, depending on the findings, then further investigation may be necessary.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Drugs – About 40% of fertility problems are caused by ovulatory disorder. The two major drugs used to treat ovulatory disorders are currently, human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG; Pergonal, Humegon, Metrodin, Fertinex) and clomiphene citrate (CC; Clomid, Serophene), and both of these may be replaced by an increasing number of other drugs.
Clomiphene citrate has a variety of side effects, including hot flashes, mood swings, headaches, nausea, vomiting and ovarian enlargement or cysts.
Human chorionic gonadotropin may be needed to stimulate ovulation. A cycle of human menopausal gonadotropin which must be administered by injection has side effects such as mood swings, fatigue, headaches, bloating and weight gain, and possible swelling at the site of injection.
More serious side effects may occur with hMG, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, according to wikipedia, this is a medical condition affecting the ovaries of some women who take fertility medication to stimulate egg growth. Most cases are mild, but rarely the condition is severe and can lead to serious illness or death. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can manifest as massive ovarian enlargement, peritoneal irritation due to follicular rupture or hemorrhage, ovarian torsion, ascites, pleural effusion, oliguria, electrolyte imbalance, hypercoagulability and sometimes death.
In many cases, other drugs must be prescribed along with hMG to ensure it functions properly. Also to support ovulation and pregnancy, progesterone may be prescribed alongside human menopausal gonadotropins.
Drugs are also used to treat male infertility issues. Injections of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are used to stimulate the testes to produce testosterone and sperm. If the man is unresponsive to hCG, the drug Pergonal can be used to stimulate sperm production. Common side effects associated with hCG include enlarged breasts, acne, mood alterations, hair loss and other conditions associated with increased testosterone.
Severe side effects may include severe allergic reactions, abnormal breast development, bloating or swelling in the stomach or pelvic area, breast tenderness, depression, infrequent urination, persistent or severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, stomach or pelvic pain, and sudden shortness of breath. You should seek immediate medical attention if any of these severe side effects occur.
Surgery – Issues or problems associated with the cervix may be treated with surgery to adjust anatomical problems, and hormonal therapy can be done to correct problems with cervical mucus.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – IUI can serve as an alternative route for cervical problems by injecting sperm with a catheter directly through the cervix into the uterus at the time of ovulation. This procedure is combined with the administration of various drugs that stimulate ovulation.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) – One assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly suggested by doctors to patients is IVF. IVF is a procedure in which eggs are fertilized in a culture dish and placed into the uterus. The injection discussed above, gonadotropins are administered to the woman to stimulate multiple egg development. The process is monitored and when the eggs are mature, they are collected using a vaginal ultrasound probe with a needle guide. The man’s sperm is collected and added to the eggs in a culture dish. After some days the embryos or fertilized eggs are returned to the uterus using an intrauterine insemination catheter.
Success rates for IVF depend on a number of factors, and a woman’s age is a major factor in achieving success.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiles national statistics for all assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures performed in the United States, IVF accounting for 99% of the procedures, the report found:
- Pregnancy was achieved in an average of 29.4% of all cycles
- The percentage of cycles that resulted in live births was 22.4% on average.
Women with top chances of IVF success have per-cycle success rates of about 35-40%, while most women have per-cycle success rates of 20-35%. Knowing your chances of success in IVF may help you get ready in trying more than one or two cycles, and this may help you feel less discouraged if the cycle(s) fail.
ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used for severe cases of male factor infertility. ICSI involves the injection of a single sperm directly into a mature egg in a culture dish and then placed into the woman’s uterus. Congenital malformations also are known as birth defect as well as sex chromosomal abnormalities have been reported in ICSI cases.
Laparoscopy – A surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs and to treat reproductive conditions such as pelvic disease, scar tissue removal, endometriosis, fibroids and ovarian cysts.
Common side effects of laparoscopy are skin irritation and bladder infection.
Complications from the laparoscopy surgery may include:
- Pelvic infection, uncontrolled bleeding that results in the need for a larger abdominal incision (laparotomy) to stop the bleeding, serious abdominal pain, prolonged nausea and vomiting, fever of 101 degrees F or higher, pus or significant bleeding at your incision, pain during urination or bowel movements.
Risk of laparoscopy may include damage to the abdominal blood vessel, bladder, bowel, uterus, and other pelvic structures, nerve damage, allergic reactions, blood clots, and scar tissue (adhesion) formation after surgery.
Hysteroscopy – is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding, remove polyps, fibroid tumors and treat blocked tubes. Hysteroscopy is done using a hysteroscope, a thin, lighted tube inserted into the vagina.
Some possible complications of hysteroscopy may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Damage to the cervix.
- Complications from fluid or gas used to expand the uterus.
There are a few other treatment options similar to the options discussed above; you should ask your doctor for the fertility treatment available so you can evaluate effectively.
Obviously, there are risks associated with drugs and surgical procedures for male and female fertility problems, complications may occur with any surgical procedure. Therefore, it is best to look at available treatment options concerning your fertility issue, analyze the risk associated with the options and then make your decision.
Herbal Therapy – This is the use of plants or plant extracts for medicinal purposes (especially plants that are not part of the normal diet). A lot of plants are part of the normal diet, what you eat every day, while there are some plants that are not part of the normal diet but are consumables.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in defining herbal medicines states that “Herbal medicines include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products, that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations.”
How Did Herbs Originate?
Herbs have been at the forefront of history since the beginning of time. It was thought that herbs grew in the Garden of Eden and were therefore especially prized. There are several herbs references throughout the bible. The book of Ezekiel, chapter 47 verses 12 says that the leaf from trees shall be used for medicine and Revelations chapter 22 verses 2 says God gave the leaves of the tree (herbs) for the healing of the nation.
My love for God can be expressed every time I read these scriptures because God is a father that does not only love His people but also eternally cares for His people all over the world. God knows someday that people will need these herbs He created, for the healing of several conditions. This was why He made herbs from the beginning of creation.
Herbs are God’s own medicine, confirmed by God to be good at the time of creation. The use of herbs is well established and widely acknowledged to be safe and effective. They do not poison the body with chemicals and toxins. They work slowly but the results last longer than with chemical drugs.
You get extra benefits from herbs that are grown organically compare to herbs that are non-organically grown. These organic herbs are carefully processed into organic herbal products with lots of extra benefits. These medicinal herbs are effectively used for various fertility issues and to improve your general health.
How to Get Pregnant Naturally
To get pregnant naturally can be as easy as A, B, C when you prepare and nurture your body for conception. Remember there are herbs that are part of your normal diet as well as herbs that are not part of your normal diet. Consuming these herbs (especially those that are not part of your normal diet) over a period of time can help prepare and nurture your body for pregnancy.
There are several natural herbs that help in enhancing fertility for men and women. Let’s look at some of these herbs:
Chaste Tree – Chaste Tree also known as Vitex has long been used for balancing hormones and supporting fertility. Chaste tree works by regulating and giving support to the pituitary gland, a powerhouse for hormone production.
Previous studies have shown that chaste tree supports the body’s natural progesterone and luteinizing hormone production. Chaste tree is used for the female reproductive system in cases of pre-menstrual symptoms, menstrual issues, and infertility.
Chaste tree has been effectively used by herbal specialists to prevent miscarriage when planning for pregnancy. It has also been used in cases of low progesterone, it has been shown to increase progesterone levels by an average of 56%.
Black Cohosh – Now known as Actaea racemosa, is used for toning and regular functioning of the uterine lining. It helps to balance estrogen levels and relieve menstrual pains. Black Cohosh has long been used to help bring on menstrual period in cases of amenorrhea, helps to treat issues of miscarriages, and effectively relax the uterus.
Black Cohosh is effectively used when preparing your body to conceive. Taking black cohosh from menstruation to ovulation may increase the release of hormones to assist with ovulation. Black Cohosh also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and protects against aging and DNA damage. This is particularly helpful for women who are over 35 or who have been exposed to toxicity.
Dong Quia – Dong Quia enhances female fertility, and is seen as a powerful “gynecological regulator.” It has the ability to reduce your estrogen levels if they are too high and can increase them if they are too low.
It has been used for so many decades to treat female reproductive problems including infertility, frequent miscarriage, ovarian function disorders, uterine cramping, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, PMT, painful periods, heavy periods and a lack of periods.
Dong Quia has also been shown to boost male fertility. Ferulic acid, an antioxidant found in dong quai, has been shown to improve sperm quality.
Siberian Ginseng – Siberian Ginseng, also known as Eleuthero, is considered as a normalizer, stress reducer and energizer. Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb, it helps the body adapt to stress by encouraging normal functioning of the adrenal glands, allowing them to function properly when you are faced with stressful situations. It is reported to have benefits in uterine health and function.
Siberian Ginseng stimulates the flow of blood to the reproductive organs and has been used as a general fertility tonic for both men and women.
Maca – Maca is a powerful fertility food for both men and women. The native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility, endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual function, especially in men.
Maca is helpful in balancing hormones and reversing hypothyroidism. It helps to treat hormone-related issues by activating and nourishing the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the glands that regulate the other glands in the body. The optimal functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands brings balance to the adrenal, pancreas, thyroid, ovarian and testicular glands.
It contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, sterols, essential fatty acids, lipids, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids.
Horny Goat Weed – One of the principal active ingredients in Horny Goat Weed is “icariin”. The icariin which works by relaxing smooth muscle tissue, helping to bring the central nervous system to a state of rest.
Horny Goat Weed produces an anti-aging effect and can improve the immune system as well as the endocrine system. It is beneficial for both men and women infertility issues and has been used to treat cases of irregular menstrual cycles, impotence, low sperm count and spermatorrhea, a condition of excessive, involuntary ejaculation.
As an aphrodisiac, horny goat weed has been used all over the world to assist in relieving sexual dysfunction in both men and women, it works by stimulating the production of androgen hormones, the hormones responsible for sexual functions.
Saw Palmetto – Saw Palmetto is effectively used to treat infertility in men and in women. The herb is a small palm tree which is native to the Southeastern United States rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, both of which are beneficial to the body.
It benefits all glandular tissue by building up tissues and supporting the health of the glands.
Saw Palmetto has been used by men to support the overall reproductive health and to help with a variety of prostate disorders (such as benign prostate hyperplasia) and by women as a uterine and vaginal tonic.
Sarsaparilla – Sarsaparilla is native to Central America and has been used as reproductive organs and glands tonic remedies. Sarsaparilla benefits men and women by regulating hormonal production and insulin levels in the blood stream thereby increasing fertility.
It helps to increase the transportation of nutrients to the body cells. It purifies the blood and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, thus reducing the risk of blood stagnation in the reproductive organs.
Sarsaparilla supports the immune system and helps to regulate the DNA duplication in normal cell growth.
The herbs discussed above helps in balancing hormones, regulating menstruation and ovulation, supporting sperm quality and quantity and enhancing the overall fertility of both men and women.
In our fertility company FERTIL-24, we have used these combinations of blend with some other plant extracts in the right doze to help many couples achieve pregnancy. You can check our organic herbal products to enhance your fertility for optimal results.
There are several other herbs and herbal blends that effectively work for other fertility conditions, if you don’t know the fertility blend that is best for your condition, we offer free online consultation to couples trying to conceive, you can contact us with your fertility issues.
We hope you are able to make a good fertility treatment choice in your fertility journey.