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Most couples presume that their desire for children will be automatically met, and yet for many couples, this does not occur.

Infertility can place a huge burden on a relationship. Sexual relations turn from a loving experience to one fraught with anxiety. Our Peermed doctors are trained to recognise and treat the causes of infertility. If you are battling to conceive, come in and chat to us.

Infertility can be defined as the failure of a couple to become pregnant after 12 months of regular unprotected sex.

Unfortunately, many women blame themselves. Some see it as a punishment for having done something wrong in their lives; some women believe that witchcraft is responsible for their infertility.

It is vital that both women and men understand the common causes of infertility, and, where possible, how to treat them.

Male Infertility

When a couple fails to conceive, the man is often reluctant to seek advice as many see this as a “female” problem. And yet, in many cases, it is the male who is infertile, and it is important that he is tested as well. Some factors that negatively affect male fertility are:

  • Prolonged use of drugs
  • Excessive stress
  • Malnutrition
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • The wearing of tight underwear

What can be done?
Analysis of the patient’s semen has to be done. Here, semen is examined for sperm disorders such as problems with sperm number, shape and mobility.

Your Peermed doctor will also conduct a full examination, including blood pressure etc.

What are the treatments for male infertility?
Treatment for male infertility depends on the cause, how long you have been infertile and your age. Treatments include:

  • Surgery for example where a man has an obstructed vas deferens (muscular tube through which sperm moves).
  • Hormone treatment and medication: in some cases, infertility is caused by high or low levels of hormones.
  • Assisted reproductive technology: where a man has problems with sperm delivery, sperm can be removed from the testicle and injected into his partner’s egg. This is then implanted into the woman’s uterus (womb) and a normal pregnancy continues.

Female Infertility

Failure to ovulate
One of the most common reasons for infertility is the failure to ovulate (release an egg into the uterus). There are many reasons why this may happen; however, the good news is that about 70% of these cases can be successfully treated with medication.

Damaged fallopian tubes
If fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, the egg may not be able to move successfully from the ovaries to the uterus. In many cases, surgery is successful.

Cervical Causes
This is quite rare, but some women may have a condition where sperm cannot pass through the cervical canal. This condition can be resolved with intrauterine inseminations (treated sperm is injected directly into the woman’s uterus.

Other causes of infertility in women include:

  • Scarring from sexually transmitted infection
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Heavy drug use

For some couples, infertility is not treatable. This could be because the problem causing the infertility cannot be cured or discovered.

Where the man is infertile, donor sperm can be used. Where a woman cannot fall pregnant but has a healthy uterus, her partner’s sperm can be combined with a donor egg. This can then be implanted into her uterus.

If becoming a parent is extremely important to an infertile couple, adoption is always an option. There are thousands of children in South Africa who are desperate for a loving, happy, stable home.
Your child could be out there waiting for you…

Did you know?

The chances of a woman falling pregnant reduce by 3% to 5% each year after the age of 30, and greatly reduce after the age of 40.

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