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A Little Bit More about Fertility and Infertility in Women
 There is one thing that is sure to be called the blessing of our lives as a family – a child. A child along with his or her problems, sleepless nights, responsibility and expenses can bring to any family joy, new breath of life and plenty of emotions. Being able to conceive a child is very important for woman’s personal respect and self-assurance even if it is not in her plans to have one in couple of years.

Fertility is the number of children a couple, person or population can conceive. As it deals with a person physically, physiologically, emotionally and spiritually the sexual intercourse, the fact of fertilization and fertility as a general notion is a very complex process. It depends on lots of factors: on the culture and economics of the person’s place of living, his or her physical health (endocrinology), way of life, nutrition, emotions, instincts, sexual behavior and timing.

What does it mean ‘to be fertile’?

There is a natural period of fertility in woman – the period around her ovulation (some days before, after and during her ovaries). During the rest of the menstrual cycle she is naturally infertile. To get pregnant the following process must be successfully held:

- a woman must release a viable egg during her ovulation (it happens in the middle of her menstrual cycle)

- the egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the womb

- a man’s sperm must be there at the time the egg is moving to the womb (or get there a few days earlier and wait for the egg)

- the sperm (the fastest one) must join with the egg

- the fertilized egg must get to the womb and attach to the inside of it

- the fertilized egg after the implantation must be nurtured by the body in order to allow the fetus to develop and grow until it is ready for birth

If any of these steps do not work properly it results in infertility.

 Infertility is an inability to contribute to conception. For a woman it’s inability to get pregnant after at least one year of trying or inability of a pregnant woman to carry a pregnancy to full term (birth). It only concerns the woman of normal childbearing age (not in the period of menopause or near it).

One-third of cases is infertility due to the woman (female factors). Only in the United States about 12 percent of women (7.3 million) aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term (National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2002).

The cause of infertility can rest in the woman from some factors mentioned above or from a combination of factors. Some cases of infertility are caused by genetic conditions of a woman or environmental factors or other health problems.

What causes infertility in women?

Most cases of infertility in women is because of the problems with ovulation. The first thing in the chain of the complex ‘getting-pregnant’ process is ovulation, without it there is no egg for fertilization. If woman doesn’t have her menstrual periods regularly or doesn’t have them at all she has problems with ovulation. Some most frequent cases that cause ovulation problems are premature ovarian failure (ovulation stops functioning before natural menopause) and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome, in which during the ovulation an egg is released not regularly or the ovaries do not release a viable egg – an egg that can not be fertilized).

Other causes of infertility include: blocked fallopian tubes (due to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or surgery), physical problems with the uterus, uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age) and sperm allergy.

What increases the risk of infertility?

Some everyday life’s factors affect and increase the women’s infertility. Most common reason and increasingly common cause of infertility is an age. Only in the USA the percentage of women that wait until their 30s and 40s to have first child is 20%. About one third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have problems with fertility. It explains with the fact that chances to release the viable healthy egg declines with age. As well as increases the risk of having a miscarriage or getting some health problems that can interfere with fertility.

Infertility increases its chances due to certain women’s lifestyle, like permanent stress, athletic training, smoking, drinking and alcohol and poor diet. Being overweight or underweight is also a risk.

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Women’s fertility is affected by such factors as environmental toxins, medications, some women’s genetic conditions and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). And this is not the whole list of it.

Being able to conceive a child and to give life to a kid is in woman’s boarding pass to her own life as many other things like body, nice hear, pretty eyes and soul. Sometimes what is naturally ours can be lost because of the ignorance, somebody’s fault or accident. And the woman may have problems in conceiving. But the desire to never give up leads person to the gaining what he or she really wants. As if the Universe Itself helps those who have the deepest dreams in their hearts. Infertility status should never stand like final sentence.  

 Valentyna Ant.

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