Infertility: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Infertility means you cannot get pregnant after trying for a year. It can be caused by problems like endometriosis, irregular ovulation, low sperm count, or low testosterone. The risk of infertility goes up with age. You can get infertility treatment as there are many available for people facing infertility.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is a condition that makes it hard for people to get pregnant. It can happen to anyone and has many causes. Getting pregnant involves various steps which are as follows.

  • Your brain needs to make hormones that control your ovaries.
  • An egg must grow and mature in your ovary.
  • Your ovary must release an egg (ovulation).
  • The egg must be picked up by your fallopian tube.
  • Sperm must swim up through your vagina and uterus to reach the fallopian tube.
  • The sperm must fertilize the egg to create an embryo.
  • The embryo must move through the fallopian tube to the uterus where it implants.

Pregnancy will not happen if any part of this process does not work.

If you are under 35, a doctor may diagnose infertility after trying to get pregnant for one year with regular, unprotected sex. If you are 35 or older, infertility may be diagnosed after six months of trying. Infertility is very common. Luckily, infertility treatment is available a lot for people who want to start or grow their family.

Causes of Infertility

Some causes of infertility affect only one partner, but others affect both. Risk factors for infertility are as follows:

  • Age is a factor especially being in your late 30s or 40s. For men, fertility starts to decline around age 50.
  • Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins like chemicals, lead, and pesticides.
  • Over exercising.
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Smoking and using tobacco products (this causes about 13% to 15% of infertility cases).
  • Substance abuse.
  • Being overweight or underweight.
  • Problems with the hormone producing centers of your brain (hypothalamus or pituitary).
  • Chronic conditions and diseases.


Diagnosis of Female Infertility

Firstly, your doctor will ask about your full medical and sexual history. For people with a uterus, fertility involves releasing healthy eggs. Your brain sends hormones to your ovary to release an egg which then travels from the ovary through the fallopian tube to the uterine lining. Fertility testing checks for issues in any of these steps. These tests will also help find or rule out problems:

  • Pelvic exam: The doctor will check for structural problems or signs of disease.
  • Blood test: A blood test will check hormone levels to see if there is a hormonal imbalance or if you are ovulating.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: The doctor inserts an ultrasound wand into your vagina to look for issues with your reproductive system.
  • Hysteroscopy: The doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube (hysteroscope) into your vagina to examine your uterus.
  • Saline sonohysterogram (SIS): The doctor fills your uterus with saline (sterilized salt water) and performs a transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Sono hysterosalpingogram (HSG): The doctor fills your fallopian tubes with saline and air bubbles during an SIS procedure to check for tubal blockages.
  • X-ray hysterosalpingogram (HSG): X-rays track an injectable dye as it travels through your fallopian tubes to check for blockages.
  • Laparoscopy: The doctor inserts a laparoscope (thin tube with a camera) into a small abdominal incision to identify problems like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and scar tissue.


Diagnosis of Male Infertility

Diagnosing infertility in men usually involves checking if they produce healthy sperm. Most fertility tests look for issues with sperm. These tests will help find or rule out problems:

  • Semen analysis: This test will check for low sperm count and poor sperm movement. Some people may need a needle biopsy to take sperm from their testicles for testing.
  • Blood test: A blood test will check levels of thyroid and other hormones. Genetic blood tests look for chromosome problems.
  • Scrotal ultrasound: An ultrasound of your scrotum will identify varicoceles or other issues with your testicles.


Infertility Treatment for Women

Infertility treatment for women are as follows:

  • Lifestyle changes: Making changes like gaining or losing weight, quitting smoking or drug use, and improving other health issues will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
  • Medications: Fertility drugs can help your ovaries release more eggs to boost your chances of pregnancy.
  • Surgery: Surgery will unblock fallopian tubes and remove polyps, fibroids, or scar tissue.


Infertility Treatment for Men

Infertility treatment for men are as follows:

  • Medications: Some medications can increase testosterone or other hormone levels. There are also drugs for erectile dysfunction that help you keep an erection during sex.
  • Surgery: Some men may need surgery to unblock tubes that carry sperm or to fix structural issues. Varicocele surgery can make sperm healthier and improve the chances of getting pregnant.


Common Fertility Treatments

Some couples may need extra help to conceive which can involve using assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART includes any fertility treatment where a healthcare provider helps with the sperm or egg. To improve the chances of getting pregnant, you can take medications to stimulate ovulation before trying one of these options:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): This involves taking eggs from your ovary and combining them with sperm in a lab dish. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are then placed into your uterus.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This procedure might be done at the time of IVF process. A single sperm is injected directly into each egg by an embryologist. One to three embryos are later transferred into your uterus.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): A healthcare provider uses a thin tube to place sperm directly into your uterus. This is also known as artificial insemination.
  • Assisted hatching: This process involves opening the outer layer of an embryo to help it implant in your uterine lining.
  • Third-party ART: Some couples use donor eggs, sperm, or embryos. In some cases, a gestational carrier or surrogate is needed.



Preventing infertility involves living a healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and managing stress. Limiting caffeine intake is also important. Both men and women should focus on living healthily for a better chance of getting pregnant.

But if you want any infertility treatment in Kochi, you can approach EMC Hospital. Our team is made up of specialists like reproductive endocrinologists, embryology experts, nurses, and lab professionals. We focus on helping individuals and couples with fertility challenges. We also do counseling sessions for sexual problems and stress relief during infertility treatment for both partners. As the best hospital in Kochi, we are proud to have helped many couples get the right infertility treatment in Kochi.


Infertility: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

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