Definition of infertility

InfertilityDifficulty for a man or a woman to procreate as a result of a functional disorder or an organic lesion of the reproductive system, generally acknowledged after one year of regular, unprotected sexual relations. is a diminished ability to conceive and produce an offspring. More specifically, it is the inability to conceive after one year of regular sexual intercourse.

The causes of infertilityDifficulty for a man or a woman to procreate as a result of a functional disorder or an organic lesion of the reproductive system, generally acknowledged after one year of regular, unprotected sexual relations. are numerous. They can be due in 30% of cases to a female problem, in 30% to a male problem, in 30% to a combined male and female origin and in 10% to unknown causes.

Most types of infertilityDifficulty for a man or a woman to procreate as a result of a functional disorder or an organic lesion of the reproductive system, generally acknowledged after one year of regular, unprotected sexual relations. can be treated either by medical procedures (operations, drug treatment), by laboratory techniques (in vitroLatin for "in glass" for example in a test tube, as opposed to processes taking place inside the body. fertilizationFusion of an egg and a spermatozoon, fertilization occurs naturally in the fallopian tubes., intracytoplasmic spermEjaculated spermatozoa and secretions during the male orgasm. injection, etc ...) or by closer surveillance of pregnancy in a specialized environment.

The rate of infertilityDifficulty for a man or a woman to procreate as a result of a functional disorder or an organic lesion of the reproductive system, generally acknowledged after one year of regular, unprotected sexual relations. is increasing in many countries. The average age of women delivering their first child has also increased since the 1970's. Many parameters explain this situation: 1) the use of contraception allows to delay the time the first child is conceived, 2) the realignment of priorities in our modern societies place the desire to conceive after the one to succeed professionally.

To conceive, a woman must ovulate, that is to say a mature oocyteA female reproductive cell. At birth, the ovaries contain 1 to 2 million oocytes. At puberty, there are no more than 400'000 to 500'000 left. Only 400 to 500 will reach maturity and ovulation at a rate of  one per month until menopause. All the others will finally degenerate at various stages of development. must be released from the ovary and must be quickly taken up by the fallopian tubes. She must then have sexual intercourse during the next 24 hours, during which the man deposits in her vagina a few million spermEjaculated spermatozoa and secretions during the male orgasm.. Only part of the spermEjaculated spermatozoa and secretions during the male orgasm., the most mobile, will go through the cervixLower part of the uterus, adjacent to and reaching into the vagina, which secretes an alkaline mucus to protect the sperm from acidic environment of the vagina. to the fallopian tubes and migrate where fertilizationFusion of an egg and a spermatozoon, fertilization occurs naturally in the fallopian tubes. takes place. The embryoTerm designating the early stages of development from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy. From the first cell division on, the two-cell stage, one uses the term embryo. created by the merging of the spermEjaculated spermatozoa and secretions during the male orgasm. with the egg begins to divide many times before it can hatch and establish itself, between the 7th and 10th day in the uterine liningSee endometrium. Subsequently, during nine months, the embryoTerm designating the early stages of development from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy. From the first cell division on, the two-cell stage, one uses the term embryo. and the fetusA term for the product of conception in the mother's body after the organs have formed, that is to say after the third month. will develop to allow for the birth of a child.

It is thus clear that infertilityDifficulty for a man or a woman to procreate as a result of a functional disorder or an organic lesion of the reproductive system, generally acknowledged after one year of regular, unprotected sexual relations. can affect both men and women. Therefore it is important that both partners are involved in identifying the causes and treatment of their problem.

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