Infertility - Historical Perspectives, Causes and Treatment
Each year, infertility affects approximately 8 million couples worldwide. In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in 10 couples have problems conceiving. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected sexual intercourse.
Religious and Social Values on Infertility
In Biblical times, infertility was blamed on the woman, who was somehow incomplete if she did not become pregnant. The stories of Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth are just a few examples from the Christian religion. Having offspring was important in both religious and practical points of views. Infertility treatment centuries ago basically amounted to men taking on a few concubines.
Moving forward in time to the 19th century, physicians still would not consider the possibility that male factors played a role in fertility. The sperm' s essential role in fertilization was not proven until 1879. Even with this
discovery, medical help for infertility problems mostly dealt with female problems.
According to CNN, "Statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of the problems are caused by male conditions, another 35 to 40 percent by female conditions, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes."
Causes and Treatment of Infertility
Nowadays, there have been significant advances in understanding the causes of infertility and medical treatment of infertility. Some of the identified causes include:
The age of the partners
Endometriosis and other female diseases
Low or zero sperm count
Smoking, alcohol, or the interaction of some prescribed drugs
As more is learned about infertility, medical science and treatment is steadily advancing. IVF -- or in vitro fertilization -- has since the late 1970s become a major infertility treatment, succeeding where many other methods have failed. IVF is a technique in which egg cells collected from the ovaries are fertilized outside the woman's body. Hormone treatments, surgeries, lifestyle changes and other procedures may be used to treat infertility.
Informative Medical Video on Infertility
For a more comprehensive understanding of infertility' s causes and treatments, watch our medical interview videos on fertility. If you are considering IVF or other infertility or hormone treatments, the videos, which include interviews of a medical professional with 15-years experience, answer many questions that you may have been too embarrassed to ask your doctor. A workbook accompanies the infertility presentations.