What is infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of trying for women less than 35 years of age or after six months of trying for women over 35. Women who are able to become pregnant but cannot stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of women ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the CDC. Approximately 15% of women of childbearing age receive care for infertility each year. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases involve problems with the female, one-third are due to problems with the male, and the other cases are due to a mixture of male and female problems or unknown problems.

Sia le donne che gli uomini possono avere problemi che causano infertilità. Circa un terzo dei casi di infertilità coinvolge problemi con la femmina, un terzo è dovuto a problemi con il maschio e gli altri casi sono dovuti a una combinazione di problemi maschili e femminili o problemi sconosciuti.

What causes infertility in women?

Ovulation dysfunction is the most common cause of female infertility. Without ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary), there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some indications that a woman may not be ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstruation.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of female infertility. PCOS is a hormone imbalance problem that can interfere with ovulation. Ovarian insufficiency is another cause of ovulation problems. Ovarian insufficiency occurs when a women’s ovaries stop working normally before age 40.

Other causes of female infertility include:

  • • Blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy

  • Uterine or cervical anomalies, which include problems with the cervical mucus, the opening of the cervix, or abnormalities in the shape of the uterus

  • • Uterine fibroids which are benign tumors in the wall of the uterus and can interfere with implantation of the fertilized egg

  • Endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial tissue (the cells that line the uterus) grows outside the uterus and can affect the function of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus

  • Pelvic adhesions, bands of scar tissue that can cause organs to bind together after abdominal or pelvic surgery , pelvic infection, or appendicitis

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Cancer and its treatment

What causes infertility in men?

  • Azospermia (no sperm cells) or oligospermia (few sperm cells) are the most common male infertility factors

  • Malformed sperm cells or sperm cells that die before they can reach the egg

  • Varicocele, enlarged veins in the testes that increase the blood flow and heat, affecting the number and shape of sperm

  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and infection

  • Trauma

  • Abitudini non salutari come fumo, uso eccessivo di alcool, integrazione di testosterone, uso di steroidi anabolizzanti e uso di droghe illecite

  • Tossine ambientali

  • Cancer and its treatment

What are risk factors that contribute to infertility?

  • • Age – fertility declines with age

  • Tobacco use

  • Alcohol use

  • Being overweight

  • Being underweight

  • Exercise – not enough exercise or too strenuous or too intense exercise

Anonymous Oocyte Donor program

Eggs (oocytes) can be obtained from a fertile woman to be donated to a woman who is unable to produce eggs herself. The oocytes are retrieved from the donor and fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the recipient’s partner. The resulting embryos are then placed in the recipient’s uterus. By using an oocyte donor, an infertile woman can carry a pregnancy. The donor can be a friend, family member, or an anonymous woman.

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