Natural conception takes place when the sperm cells, after intercourse, swim up through the neck of the uterus and into the uterine tubes where they meet the egg and fertilise it. After the fertilisation of the egg in the uterine tube the egg cleaves, and after a couple of days the fertilised egg has moved down though the uterine tube and into the uterus. In the uterus the egg adheres to the endometrium and develops into a baby. This process is illustrated below:
In order for this process to take place it is important that the woman produces mature eggs, has an ovulation, has passage through the uterine tubes, and that the man’s sperm quality is all right.
This is the inability to identify the cause of infertility despite a complete evaluation of semen, ovarian reserve, ovulation, endocrinologic disorders and pelvic anatomy.
How can I prevent infertility?
What you and your partner may not know is that some of the factors that influence fertility are within your control and most of these revolve around your lifestyle.
Your lifestyle may influence your general outlook, stress levels, and even your fertility potential. If you are ready to take the step into parenthood then it is time to make some sacrifices.
Alcohol and Pregnancy
Certain toxins can prevent you from conceiving, or even cause miscarriage, consider eliminating alcohol. Moderate drinking usually won’t lower sperm count in men or harm fertility in women. But large amounts of alcohol (usually defined as more than two drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women) may lower your odds for parenthood. Women who are trying to conceive should stop drinking entirely.
Caffeine and Pregnancy
Can’t give up that hankering for a cup of coffee in the morning? Crave a coke in the afternoon for a little pick-me-up? If you’re trying to become pregnant, now is a great time to kick your caffeine habit… marijuana, cocaine, and anabolic steroids can all contribute to infertility in men. Women trying to get pregnant, of course, should avoid recreational drugs and alcohol because of the potential danger to the fetus.
Smoking and Pregnancy
Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes causes hormonal changes that can lead to menstrual irregularities and even an ovulation (menstrual cycles where ovulation fails to occur). It can damage your eggs. Smoking can interfere with virtually every aspect of a woman’s fertility, from ovulation to early development of the embryo. Smoking can slightly lower a man’s sperm count and may even contribute to impotence.
Weight & Fertility
The sex hormones of both men and women are closely tied to weight. The number on the scale plus your body fat percentage can help you calculate the weight that’s healthiest for you. Keep in mind that in order to lose a pound per week, you would need to cut 500 calories per day either through diet, exercise or both. Heavier men may face fertility problems. Part of the reason is that an increase in abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance and a rise in insulin production, which wreaks havoc on sex hormones. It’s a problem for women, too: When obese women do become pregnant, they are more likely to have miscarriages than lean women of the same age.
Get your exercise, but don’t overdo it. Over exercising that leaves you underweight can lessen your chances of conceiving. Too little exercise, which contributes to an overweight physique, can do the same.
Check your medicine
Check your medicine cabinet. Some prescription drugs can impair fertility in both men and women. For men, the list of potential culprits includes the heartburn medication cimetidine (Tagamet), the rheumatoid arthritis drug (Azulfidine), and several chemotherapy drugs. A woman’s fertility may be hampered by certain antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, and hormonal treatments. Ask your doctor if any of your medications could be causing infertility. A change of prescription just might solve the problem.