Primary vs. Secondary Infertility

Infertility in couples is the state of being unable to become pregnant after a year of having frequent intercourse without using any birth control methods. It may also refer to a state when a female gets pregnant but has recurrent miscarriages. Infertility affects men and women equally.

The term primary infertility is used when a female has never been able to conceive a pregnancy or when a male has never been successful at impregnating a woman after at least one year of making an attempt to do so by having unprotected sexual intercourse. Secondary infertility in couples is the inability to conceive and deliver a child after previously having delivered one or more children successfully. Both primary and secondary infertility are general among couples who are infertile, and the causes and treatments are similar.

Causes of Female Infertility

Infertility can be caused by several different factors. Females struggling with fertility principally have problems with ovulation. Other reasons for female infertility include clotting disorders, hormone imbalances or deficiencies, poor nutrition, malfunction of the pituitary gland, damage to fallopian tubes, age-related factors, egg related problems such as inability to develop and release mature eggs, scarred or injured ovaries, ovarian cysts, heavy alcohol use, excessive exercise and autoimmune disorders.

Common Causes of Male Infertility

Primary male infertility most commonly can be caused by abnormal sperm production or function, blocked sperm ducts, problems with sperm motility and failure to ejaculate. Other reasons include genetic abnormalities, excessive intake of alcohol and drugs like marijuana or cocaine, varicocele, stress, testes exposed to high temperatures, environmental toxins and pollutants, certain medications and hormone problems.

There are a broad range of treatment options for couples who experience infertility, and the treatment mainly depends on the causes of infertility. In addition to increasing the frequency of intercourse and medical counseling, medical procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) are suggested.

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