Infertility is not a sweet word by any standard. Neither is its sister word, sterility. In fact,
the only time I ever heard sterility used with something positive was where it was used
in relation to mosquitoes. Remember those tiny insects always committing crimes
against humanity? Scientists are trying to exterminate them by sterilizing all their males.
Without baby mosquitoes being hatched, soon the adult ones will die without a
replacement. Then the world will become a better place.
That’s the same thing humans worry about when they learn that they are infertile. They
worry about their lineage going extinct. This is probably why people discuss it only in
whispers and those who are infertile often feel ashamed. Given that it is one of the
commonest reasons women visit doctors, many people know one or two things about
infertility. Yet, there are so many misconceptions about it. In this article, you will soon
learn five things you never knew about infertility.
Infertility Is Not Always the Woman’s Fault
This fact should be obvious to everyone, shouldn’t it? I mean, it takes two to tangle. If
tangling fails to work, the fault can come from either of the two, can’t it? In fact, statistics
show that women and men account for the same percentage of infertility, each
contributing 40 percent. Of the remaining 20 percent, 10 percent is caused jointly by
women and men, and the other 10 percent is caused by unknown factors.
See, it’s not always the woman’s fault. Yet, in many communities, women are shamed
and tormented for infertility when the cause may even be from the man.
Man May Be the Cause Without Knowing
Many men think as long as they can achieve a good erection, they are in order. This is
not true. During sex, other things need to be in place for the man to be able to make a
woman pregnant. When a man ejaculates – or releases – into the woman, he puts
semen into her vagina. Semen contains sperms which are the real deal. You know, they
are the ones who will eventually nominate one of them to go and fertilize the woman’s
egg. Not quite simple, though. The sperms are not that nice to one another. There are
usually millions of them competing for that grand price. It’s a survival-of-the-fittest kind
of thing where the strongest, healthiest and fastest sperm cell makes it to the woman’s
That’s where it gets tricky. Many men thing as long as they can have an erection and
release into the woman, they’ve sent millions of sperm cells into the ring to dig it out
with one another and produce the last man standing who will then fertilize the egg. It’s
not always that way, though. Sometimes the fluid that comes out of the man’s penis
during sex may not have enough number of sperm cells. There may be only few
physically normal sperm cells, or only a few that can swim fast enough to make it to the
egg before they die. All these things will be checked by the doctor before the man can
say for sure whether he is not the cause.
You May Not Be Having Enough Sex
You read that right. Infertility is defined medically as the inability to achieve pregnancy
after at least one year of adequate, unprotected sexual intercourse. Many people
assume they know what adequate sex is. Medically, adequate sex is defined as having
unprotected vaginal sex between 3 to 5 days every week. Remember, you’re going to
be having it like that for a whole year. Of course, you won’t be using condoms or any
other methods of contraception during this whole year. If you still fail to conceive, that’s
when doctors can describe you as being infertile.
Now you know that you can’t start having sex for only six months and run to the hospital
or your village people and be shouting everywhere that you’re infertile. Before you do
that, check very well to see if you’re having adequate sex.
Infertility Can Be Treated
One of the reasons people fear infertility is that they think it may not be something
doctors can treat. This is not true. Usually, there are several factors that can cause
infertility. When you see your doctors, they will ask you a number of questions in order
to probe which factor or combination of factors may be causing your infertility. After that,
they will ask you to do some tests to check your body. All these steps will help them to
know what is causing your condition. Treatment options exist for many of the causes of
The problem people sometimes have is that they stroll into the hospital and expect the
doctors to give them one magic tablet that will fix everything. There is no such thing.
Doctors rely on what they know about how your body works normally to achieve
pregnancy. Tests exist that can be used to show if all the parts of your body involved in
becoming pregnant are working well. The treatment they will give you depends on which
part of the process is not working well.
However, remember that about 10 percent of cases of infertility are caused by unknown
factors. This means that doctors will do all their tests and find nothing wrong with the
man and woman. Yet, they may still be unable to achieve pregnancy. You can blame
your village people for that if you want, but doctors believe with more advancement in
medical science, tests may become available that can help with those unexplained
cases. Perhaps, at that time, their treatment will also be discovered.
Infertility May Be Primary or Secondary
Most times, observers only know whether or not a couple has children. They don’t know
if the woman has been having miscarriages. Medically, doctors classify infertility into
two types – primary or secondary. Primary infertility implies that the couple has never
achieved pregnancy even once in all their lives. This means the woman has never had
a miscarriage or delivered a baby that was born dead, whether in the course of her
marriage or at any other time in her life. It also means that the man has never made any
woman pregnant at any time of his life.
On the other hand, secondary infertility implies that the person concerned has achieved
pregnancy before regardless of its outcome. For example, a couple who had a child and
are then having difficulty achieving pregnancy would be described as being secondarily
infertile. Also, if they’re achieving pregnancies but only losing them and being unable to
have babies, they’re not considered infertile. The cause of the losses of pregnancy will
be investigated and treated accordingly, after which they should be able to have a