Female & Male Infertility

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of regular, unprotected intercourse. It affects approximately 10-15% of couples worldwide.

Infertility can be caused by a variety of either female or male factors and may require a range of treatments depending on the underlying cause. Early diagnosis and treatment can increase the chances of successful conception and pregnancy.

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Female Infertility

There are several causes of female infertility, including:

  • Lifestyle factors: Factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can also contribute to infertility.
  • Ovulation disorders: Irregular or absent ovulation can be caused by conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, and premature ovarian failure.
  • Age-related decline in fertility: Fertility declines with age, and women over 35 may have more difficulty conceiving due to a decrease in the number and quality of their eggs.
  • Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with fertility.
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities: Fibroids, polyps, and structural abnormalities of the uterus or cervix can interfere with implantation and pregnancy.
  • Blocked fallopian tubes: Blockages can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery.

Female Infertility Treatments

Treatments for female infertility depend on the underlying cause and may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake can all improve fertility.
  • Medications to stimulate ovulation: Drugs such as clomiphene citrate, letrozole or FSH injections can help stimulate ovulation in women with ovulation disorders.
  • Surgery to correct structural issues: Surgery can be used to correct fallopian tube blockages, remove uterine fibroids or polyps, divide pelvic or uterine adhesions or excise endometriosis.
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART): ART involves the use of techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) to increase the chances of fertilisation and pregnancy.
  • Donor eggs or sperm: Where eggs or sperm are not viable or available, donor eggs or sperm may be used.
  • Surrogacy: Surrogacy is an arrangement where a person carries and gives birth to a baby for another person or persons who can’t be pregnant themselves.

Male Infertility

There are several causes of male infertility, including:

  • Abnormal sperm parameters: A low sperm count, poor sperm motility or abnormal sperm shape can make it difficult for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg.
  • Testicular problems: Testicular damage following injury, infection, varicocele (swelling of the scrotal veins), undescended testis, surgery or genetic disorders can interfere with sperm production.
  • Erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction: Difficulties with erection, and premature or delayed ejaculation make intercourse difficult or impossible.
  • Hormonal imbalances: A range of hormonal imbalances may lead to low testosterone levels affecting sperm production.
  • Genetic disorders: A number or genetic disorders including Klinefelter syndrome or Y chromosome deletions can cause infertility.
  • Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drug and alcohol use, environmental toxins and exposure to infections contribute to male infertility.

Male Infertility Treatments

Treatments for male infertility depend on the underlying cause and may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol and drug use can all improve fertility.
  • Medications to improve sperm production and function: Medications such as clomiphene citrate, letrozole or hormone injections can help increase sperm production and improve sperm motility.
  • Surgery to correct structural issues: Surgery can be used to correct varicoceles, remove blockages in the sperm ducts, or reverse previous vasectomy.
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART): ART involves the use of techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to increase the chances of fertilisation and pregnancy. 
  • Surgical Sperm Retrieval: There are several methods of extracting sperm from the testis for men with azoospermia (no sperm in the ejaculate).
  • Donor sperm: In cases where sperm is not viable or available, donor sperm may be used.
Dr Victoria Nisenblat image

Dr Victoria Nisenblat​

MD, PhD, FRANZCOG, CREI

Fertility Specialist, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Reproductive Surgeon

Dr Victoria Nisenblat is an experienced Gynaecologist with 20+ years of experience managing gynaecological conditions medically and surgically where indicated. She is also a certified Fertility Sub-Specialist, having completed the Certificate of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (CREI).

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