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Infertility in both men and women is becoming increasingly common in recent times, causing great stress and anxiety for those concerned. Amongst several other factors environmental pollution has become the major cause of infertility. Some of the other known causes of male and female fertility are as follows :
Sperm Disorders: One of the most common factors that results in male infertility is failure to produce enough healthy sperm. Azoospermia (complete absence of sperm in the semen) and oligospermia (in which too few sperm are produced) both cause infertility. It is important to note here that, although only one sperm is required for fertilization, enzymes from many sperms are required to break down the protective tissues around the ovum, so as to allow the fertilizing sperm to penetrate into the cytoplasm of the ovum.
Sperm Abnormalities: Infertility may also be caused due to disease of the testes, or by a disorder of the pituitary gland, which results in deficient production of hormone. Abnormal numbers of sex chromosomes can also result in disorders of the male reproductive tract.
Ovulatory or Harmonal Disorders: Major cause of infertility in females is failure to ovulate which includes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) blocked fallopian tubes and the production of antibodies to a partner’s sperm. However, problems can also arise if the ovaries themselves are resistant to normal levels of hormones. In addition, absent, damaged or diseased ovaries will prevent ovulation.
Impact of Age: Generally, age and fertility are inversely related, and aging of the reproductive system is the other major cause of female infertility. The most rapid decline in fertility in particular year has been found to occur at age 35. Decline in fertility also seems to be a direct result of the age-related decline in the number of healthy eggs in a woman’s ovaries.