As a person ages, many of the processes within their body slow down, including the reproductive systems both in women and men. Women are born with a finite number of eggs and no new eggs are produced after birth. This number of eggs ranges from 1 to 2 million for most women. Every month after birth the number of eggs will decline and menopause will occur once all the eggs are depleted from the ovaries. The health and the ability of an egg in becoming a normal embryo decline with age. Men, however, produce new sperm every day. Age does have an impact on the quality of the sperm. Sperm can become less mobile, while eggs can become hardened with age, making it more difficult for the sperm to penetrate it. Along with the effects on the eggs and sperm, hormone levels may fluctuate with age which can make it harder for the uterus to prepare for the possibility of an embryo implantation. Furthermore, other chronic conditions that may impact fertility such as fibroids occur more commonly with age which could hamper the likelihood of pregnancy.
Several factors can impact fertility. Weight and age are commonly looked at as possible reasons behind a patient's infertility. Hormonal imbalances can prevent a woman from ovulating and also have an impact on how her uterus reacts when a fertilized egg presents itself. Chronic conditions like fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis can prevent the ovaries and other reproductive organs from performing the way they should. Blockage of the fallopian tubes due to past infection or scarring is a common cause of infertility as well. Men can also have fertility issues. Lifestyle habits, an injury to the genitals, dilated veins on the testicles called varicoceles, decreased testosterone production, certain genetic disorders and the use of certain medications are common considerations when infertility presents itself in men.
Fertility specialists offer many different options depending on what’s causing the difficulties conceiving. In-Vitro Fertilization, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injections, Ovulation Induction, Artificial Insemination, and Frozen Embryo Transfer are possible options for women who have trouble conceiving using natural methods. Medications are available for both men and women to increase levels of the reproductive hormones that are needed for both ovulation and the production of viable sperm. A Fertility Specialist can perform different tests to evaluate the reproductive health and function of both men and women. This will determine if there are any infertility issues and what can be done to address them.