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Local Health Guide

From the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Here is a reprint of an article from the above magazine on Women’s Health…….

Infertility is the term health care providers use for women and men who are unable to get pregnant after at least 1 year of trying. Women who are able to get pregnant but who cannot carry a pregnancy to term (birth) may also be considered infertile.

Infertility is a complex problem–it does not have a single cause because getting pregnant is a multi-step chain of events.

The cause of infertility can rest in the woman or the man, or can be from unknown factors or a combination of factors.

A woman’s risk for infertility can also be affected by certain lifestyle and environmental factors, including:

Advancing age.baby 1
Poor diet.
Being overweight or underweight.
Smoking, drugs, and alcohol.
Environmental toxins.
Genetic conditions, such as being a carrier of Fragile X syndrome.
Other health problems, such as sexually transmitted infections.
Like female infertility, male infertility can result from physical problems, such as testes that do not make enough normal sperm or hormonal problems. Lifestyle or environmental factors also can cause infertility.

Examples of these factors include (but are not limited to) age, stress, and exposing the testes to high temperatures, which can affect the ability of the sperm to move and to fertilize an egg.

Most often, health care providers treat infertility with medication or surgical repair of the reproductive organs, artificial insemination, or in vitro fertilization.

A woman’s ovaries must be able to release a viable egg, which then must be able to travel down the fallopian tube.
The man must be able to ejaculate, and his sperm must be able to travel to the fallopian tube.
The sperm and egg must unite to fertilize the egg.
The fertilized egg must attach (or implant) to the inside of a receptive uterus and be nurtured by the body to allow the fetus to develop and grow until it is ready for birth.