In Vitro Fertilization: causes of infertility

in vitro

In Spain one in seven couples (about 15%) suffers from fertility issues.  This condition is difficult to detect, in fact most people are not aware of being infertile until the motherhood or fatherhood idea doesn’t come out.

In vitro fertilization is the main treatment to achieve the pregnancy and face male or female infertility when other assisted reproduction methods failed.  This technique is named “in vitro” because the process is performed outside the woman’s body in flat lab dishes.

There are many causes for infertility which can be due to male, female or mixed male and female factor:

Male infertility

30% of infertility cases arise from male issues such as:

  • Testicular disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction or ejaculation disorders
  • Congenital malformations of the urinary system
  • Ejaculatory duct obstruction
  • Severe obesity

Female infertility

As for men 30% of infertility depends on female factors:

  • Older age: there is a great turning point from the age of 35 which is when women generally start experiencing a decline in their fertility.
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis: this disease is characterized by growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

Other causes

The remaining 40% is related to unexplained reasons (Unexplained Infertility), mixed or combined factors where both members of the couple are involved.

In this case, the woman can opt for an assisted reproduction treatment to become a mother. Among these techniques there is the IVF which has been previously mentioned in this section and it is usually applied when other treatments failed.

Requirements to undergo the In vitro fertilization process

There are no strict requirements to meet as in the Intrauterine Insemination but there are minimum requirements for patients who want to undergo the IVF:

  • For women: the age is one of the main limiting factors for motherhood through assisted reproduction. For younger women, there are higher success rates. Moreover, they have to be able to produce eggs and respond to the ovarian stimulation with a minimum number of mature eggs. Another requirement is not suffering from uterine anomalies or disorders which can impede the embryo implantation or carry on the pregnancy.
  • For men: it is necessary having sperm in the ejaculation and good-quality semen. In severe conditions such as azoospermia (complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate) the IVF will not be effective. Moreover, a total sperm concentration of at least 3 million/ml is required.

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