Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands - (Page 45)
FERTILITY – SEXUAL REPRODUCTION
THE SEED OF life
Making babies isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Figures show many
couples – roughly one in seven – experience difficulty when trying to conceive
roblems conceiving can be
very distressing for you and
your partner. In 26% of
cases, infertility is unexplained.
In 32% of cases, it’s due
to problems in the male
partner, 25% to problems in the female, and
17% to a combination of both partners.
ANOVULATION A condition
in which the ovary does not release an egg
each month, anovulation is a prime factor in
infertility. Irregular or short cycles and erratic
or absent periods are a big indicator that
anovulation may be the problem. This can be
the result of hormone imbalances, diet, stress
or excessive exercise.
BLOCKED FALLOPIAN TUBE A blockage
in one or both of the tubes can prevent sperm
from reaching the egg for fertilisation.
HORMONAL IMBALANCES Any sort of
hormonal imbalance can affect fertility. Most
s a girl thing
often, it will cause anovulation, but it can also
affect the lining of the uterus (endometrium),
which can stop a fertilised egg from implanting.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME
(PCOS) Women with PCOS have higherthan-average
levels of testosterone, oestrogen
and luteinising hormone, which controls the
menstrual cycle. These raised levels cause
irregular periods and ovulation often stops.
AGEING Every female is born with all the
eggs she’ll ever have. At puberty she has about
400,000. As eggs age, they fertilise less easily.
Fertility starts to decline from the age of 30.
IMPAIRED SHAPE AND MOTILITY
s a guy thing
The cause of a low sperm count can often be unclear
OF SPERM In order to move rapidly and
accurately towards the egg, sperm must be
properly shaped. If their structure is abnormal
or the movement (motility) is impaired, they
may fail to reach or penetrate the egg.
LOW SPERM COUNT A normal sperm
concentration is 20 million sperm per millilitre
of semen. Ten million or fewer in every
millilitre of semen indicates low sperm count.
VARICOCELE This is an enlarged or
varicose vein in the scrotum that may prevent
cooling of the testicle, reducing sperm count.
AGEING Male fertility is also affected by
age, as sperm become increasingly sluggish
from the late 30s onwards.
WEIGHT Being obese or overweight
reduces both male and female fertility. In
women, being overweight can affect ovulation.
Being underweight can also have a negative
impact on fertility, particularly for women, who
will not ovulate if they’re severely underweight.
STIS There are several common sexually
transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause
infertility. For example, chlamydia may damage
the fallopian tubes in women, and cause
swelling and tenderness of the scrotum in men.
SMOKING As well as affecting your general
health, smoking can also adversely affect fertility.
This can improve upon quitting.
Girls and guys
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Exposure to
certain pesticides, metals and solvents affects
fertility in men and women.
STRESS If either you or your partner are
stressed, this can suppress libido (sex drive),
reducing the frequency of sexual intercourse.
Need some help?
When there is nothing medically wrong with
you or your partner but you are still struggling
to conceive, ovarian stimulating medication
is often used. Should this fail, a more invasive
medically assisted conception is an option. Your
GP will recommend the best one for you. n
Dr Hilary Jones’ Healthcare guide – West Midlands 045
PHOTOGRAPHS: Getty Images
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands
A HEALTHY HELLO FROM DR HILARY
NEWS AND VIEWS
THE BIG INTERVIEW
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
FITNESS FOR FREE
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
DR HILARY'S WELCOME
MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
CHOOSING THE BEST
EARS, NOSE AND THROAT
OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY
Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands