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What Causes Infertility?

Infertility is a disorder. Plain and simple. It is not a misfortune, a result of bad karma or a permanent curse. Infertility, like other physical disorders, can occur due to several factors like hormonal imbalances, gynaecological disorders or physical defects.

If you want to conceive successfully, you must try to understand the factors responsible for your conception failures. Addressing those issues is the correct way to resolve the problem.

Men Have An Equal Responsibility

When a woman is trying to conceive, traditionally, in Indian households, special emphasis is laid on her nutrition. Special ‘Panjiri’s’ are prepared, and her overall diet is improved. However, have you seen men being given any such special treatment? Don’t they have an equally important role to play in successful conception?

In India, given our social conditioning, it is natural for women to assume all the responsibility for their conception failures. There are definitive studies that prove that in almost half of reduced fertility cases, the problem lies with men. Therefore, no matter how hard you try, if the problem is with your partner, your efforts will not help. The couple needs to understand this and go to the doctor together right at the very beginning.

When we talk of reduced fertility, men and women have an equal share. In the previous chapters, we discussed the factors that might lead to lowered fertility in both men and women.

This chapter will focus on exactly those aspects in their body that can cause reduced fertility. These factors are also the base for most treatment procedures followed across the globe

3 Aspects in their Body that cause Fertility Issues in Women

1. Egg Growth and Quality

2. Ovulation Failures

3. Implantation Level Failure

Egg Growth and Quality

Life starts with an egg. Your ovaries produce eggs that will ultimately lead to conception. What if there is a problem with egg growth and its quality? This is a common problem that many women face.

If the size or quality of the eggs isn’t up to the mark, it may not be able to result in a successful pregnancy.

Egg growth and quality issues are generally caused by:

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Gynaecological Disorders like PCOS, Fibroids, etc.
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Lifestyle Problems

When the egg growth is slow, or its quality is poor, it will not result in successful conception. The modern conventional treatment approach uses hormonal supplementation to overcome this problem.

However, the fact that hormonal supplementation is often misused and overused and has several negative impacts is not often spoken about.

Even fertility treatment methods like IUI and IVF will not work if egg growth is not optimal. Egg growth is needed to stimulate ovulation and only after that, can further steps be taken to initiate pregnancy. Hence, achieving optimal egg growth is mandatory and hormonal pills and injections are used for that.

However, it only solves one part of the problem. While the hormonal treatment can increase the size of the egg, it cannot improve its quality. Also egg quality happens to go down with hormonal treatment. The egg remains weak and increases the chances of failure of the embryo.

Changes in diet and lifestyle with some Ayurvedic herbs can greatly help to improve the egg’s size and quality. If a woman is not getting pregnant, this egg growth and quality are the primary issues to look for.

Ovulation Failures

Timely ovulation or egg release is the next important stage to facilitate successful conception. Ideally, in a 28-day cycle, the egg release takes place around the 14th day. This is when the egg leaves the ovaries and enters the fallopian tube, where it can get fertilised by the sperm. Therefore, timely ovulation and knowledge are important for a better chance of conception.

Women having early or delayed periods are in a disadvantageous position. Firstly, they don’t ovulate periodically at regular intervals. Hence, their chances of getting pregnant reduce significantly. Secondly, it is harder for them to know about their ovulation window due to irregular periods. Such women must keep track of their ovulation window using ovulation strips available in the market.

Accurate knowledge of this ovulation window and its tracking is of utmost importance for successful conception. The egg is only live and active for the next 24 hours of its release or ovulation. After this window, even if the sperm reaches the egg, it’ll be of no use.

You must understand that only sexual intercourse within the ovulation window can lead to conception. Even if you have intercourse with your partner several times in the month outside this window, it will not help your conception efforts because there will be no egg in the fallopian tube to fertilize.

Frequent intercourse with your partner during this ovulation window will increase the chances of the sperm reaching the egg and fertilizing it successfully.

In many women, there is no ovulation at all. In others, the egg grows excessively and reaches an undue size. Ultimately it becomes a follicular cyst and doesn’t break. The egg remains trapped in the follicle, so there is no ovulation. PCOS is a perfect example of this problem. In PCOS, the egg doesn’t develop and gets trapped in the follicle, so it doesn’t ovulate. Hence, there is little chance of conception.

A fibroid is another example of this problem. Even in the case of fibroids, there are anovulatory cycles. It means there is no release of the egg into the system.

Even in the case of endometriosis, there are anovulatory cycles. There are several gynaecological disorders in which there are anovulatory cycles.

It is also possible that you might not be suffering from any gynaecological disorder but still have anovulatory cycles due to hormonal imbalance.

The problem with the modern-day treatment approach is that it emphasises achieving ovulation through injecting hormones. This forcibly induced ovulation is unnatural. You must understand that first, one kind of hormone is given to increase the egg size in your ovaries. Then another kind of hormone is given to release that egg from the ovaries. The whole process is forced. The egg doesn’t have the strength to carry out the process on its own. It has not undertaken the struggle to develop and release itself from the follicle. Hence, the chances of implantation failures are high with such eggs. The egg quality remains poor, and usually, it cannot attach itself to the uterus floor.

This is the major cause of high instances of failures in IUI and IVF. The egg, from its growth to ovulation, has been getting pumped up artificially. It doesn’t have the natural capacity and strength to bond with sperm and form a healthy and robust embryo. You must remember that the journey doesn’t end with the fertilisation of the egg. The embryo also has to undergo the process of successful implantation and another 36-week journey of survival.

Therefore, egg quality is as important as the size of the egg. There are ways to increase the size of the egg through hormonal treatment but not to improve its quality. That’s why IUI and IVF have a high fertilisation rate, but the implantation failure rate is also high.

Several Ayurvedic herbs are very helpful in achieving natural ovulation. Not only that, these herbs can induce ovulation without deteriorating the quality of the egg.

Focus on improving the quality of the egg is a very important thing. It will help in ensuring a higher success rate in conception.


Implantation level failure

Suppose the egg ovulated on time and was successfully fertilised by a sperm. So we now have an embryo. However, as we discussed, the embryo still has a long way to go.

Even after successful fertilisation, the embryo still has a few days of journey in the fallopian tube. It takes around five days for the embryo to reach the uterus. It utilises this time to grow in its size.

However, the real test starts when the embryo has to implant itself on the uterus lining.

At this stage, the problem can be of two types:

  • The egg is not able to implant itself on the uterus lining
  • The egg is implanted but gets detached later on

This is called implantation failure.

This is much more common than egg growth issues and ovulation difficulties.

Why do implantation failures happen?

These problems arise due to poor quality and health of the endometrium, which is the uterine lining.

  • It may not have achieved the proper thickness
  • It might not be receptive
  • Its quality is poor

Due to these reasons, the endometrium isn’t able to attract the embryo or doesn’t have that receptivity. Even if the implantation occurs, the endometrium cannot provide the nutrition the embryo must get to survive in the initial stages of its struggle. If the embryo doesn’t get the required nutrition, it will get detached from the endometrium and thrown out of the system. This is known as a chemical pregnancy.

A chemical pregnancy is an unfortunate scenario of desperation, hope, and dejection. The unfortunate woman undergoing a chemical pregnancy will first miss her period dates. This raises expectations and she ends up mistaking it for a pregnancy. She will experience boundless joy when she sees two lines on the pregnancy test strip indicating successful conception. However, it soon changes into remorse when she gets her periods within a week, and the second line disappears in subsequent tests. This is a case of implantation failure. The embryo gets detached immediately after implantation because it wasn’t getting adequate nutrition to grow and survive.

If the endometrium is unable to provide sufficient nutrition right after the implantation of the embryo, the chances of pregnancy failure are dangerously high. That’s why the first three months of any pregnancy are considered very crucial.

In more than 80% of the IUI and IVF failure cases, the reason is implantation failure.

You must understand that:

  • Egg growth can be given a boost through hormonal treatment.
  • Timely ovulation can also be achieved through hormonal injections
  • Even the egg and sperm can be fertilised outside the body in a test tube
  • However,

  • You must never forget that the embryo will ultimately grow in the uterus. If the endometrium isn’t strong enough to hold the embryo and provide nutrition, it will lead to failed pregnancies.

There are no artificial ways to strengthen the endometrium or increase its receptivity. Ayurveda, on the other hand, has several herbs that can nourish the endometrium and increase the receptivity of this layer. These herbs also have the power to normalise the thickness of the endometrium. These things together increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

veral studies have shown that lifestyle and diet modifications can tremendously improve the shape and size of the sperm. Leaving tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs has a very positive impact. Addressing obesity is also a right step in this direction.

Key Learning

Fertility issues in women are mostly caused due to 3 bodily aspects. Egg quality and growth issues are often very common but define obstacles in the path of fertility. Ovulation problems can also minimise chances of conception. Finally, implantation level failures cause pregnancy losses. Understanding and addressing these issues is crucial for a successful pregnancy.

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