Is Infertility a Disease?

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.

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Infertility is a word that none of us wants to hear in our lives. It affects a vast proportion of the country and wider world and can have adverse impacts on not only your physical health but also your mental well-being. 

With it estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that approximately 186 million people globally are living with infertility, there is no doubt that if this is not something affecting you, someone within your circles may well be experiencing it. 

Sexual health is not as often discussed as other aspects of our physical health. As a result, there are often misconceptions and questions surrounding various aspects of it. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with having gaps in your knowledge, but it could lead to further misinformation and confusion in various situations. 

Particularly if you are trying to conceive with your partner, you might be paying a closer focus to the goings-on in the genital department. This includes any concerns you might have relating to your fertility levels. Having questions about this type of thing is completely normal, and that is where people like us come into the equation. 

Within this piece, we will be debunking myths surrounding fertility, including the following: 

  • What is Infertility?
  • Is Infertility a Disease?
  • Causes of Infertility in Men and Women
  • Treatments for Infertility 

Whether you are actively trying to conceive, or are in the beginning stages, read on to discover all you need to know. 

What Is Infertility? 

is infertility a disease

To thoroughly understand the impacts infertility can have on the conception process, it is first best to know what infertility itself is. Many of us might believe we have an understanding of it, but this information may not be as accurate as we first thought. 

According to health authorities like the United Kingdom's National Health Service, infertility is defined as the condition whereby a couple cannot conceive despite having regular unprotected sex. For the most part, eighty-four per cent of couples who are actively trying to conceive tend to do so within a twelve-month window from when first trying

With one in seven couples said to experience troubles with conceiving, this is more common than most people anticipate. What’s more, there are various causes of infertility; there is not simply one contributing factor that causes infertility for all individuals experiencing this condition. 

More on this below. 

Is Infertility a Disease? 

Focusing on the main question of this piece, the answer would be yes. Infertility is a disease. The word disease is defined as a condition that has been caused by an infection or a failure of health. With numerous causes of infertility, both through illness and failure of certain aspects of our health, it appears that infertility is very much a disease. 

Infertility was first deemed a disease by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2002. Since then, research has continued to determine what precisely causes this condition and whether there are any solutions. While it might not feel like a disease, this is a life-long condition. That being said, you should not feel alienated when experiencing infertility, for you are not alone, and there are ways to tackle it. 

Infertility is broken into two categories; primary and secondary infertility.

Primary infertility

This is when no pregnancy has occurred.

Secondary infertility

An occurance when there has been a prior pregnancy at some time. 

Causes of Infertility 

Causes of infertility naturally vary in men and women due to varying reproductive systems, but there are certain overlaps as well. Common causes of infertility include the following: 

Men 

Infertility in men is the result of low-quality semen and a lack of sperm. At the same time, causes of infertility can also range from ejaculation disorders to conditions directly affecting the testicles; think the likes of testicular cancer and other such diseases. 

Lifestyle conditions are also thought to contribute towards infertility in men, including poor diet and any damage to the testicles through sports and other activities. 

Women 

Ovulation, or therefore a lack of, is one of the primary causes of infertility within women. Ovulation is the process whereby an egg is released from the ovaries for insemination. There are numerous causes in which an egg might not be produced, including an over-or under-active thyroid, as well as other conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). 

Birth control can also impact whether an egg is produced or not, but naturally, those who are trying to conceive naturally would not be using birth control. 

Furthermore, a woman can suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease which can be the result of a sexually transmitted disease.

Treatments for Infertility

is infertility a disease

We recognise it can feel incredibly isolating when experiencing symptoms of infertility, particularly when actively trying to conceive. There are various treatments for infertility, both more generic and others tailored toward the symptoms you are experiencing. 

Infertility treatments are split into three categories, including the following: 

Medicinal Treatments 

While this includes medication provided by a registered medical professional, this also extends beyond to include the likes of supplements from companies like ourselves. If it is discovered your infertility is a direct result of nutritional deficiencies, this is undoubtedly worth considering as a treatment. 

On the other hand, more specific medication is available, particularly for women, which stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. Encouraging the monthly release of an egg will greatly contribute to your efforts. 

Surgical Procedures 

These are used for slightly more complicated cases of infertility, particularly if there are any issues with the fallopian or vas deferens tubes in women and varicocele in men. Furthermore, surgical procedures are also used in cases where Endometriosis and other conditions come into play. 

Assisted Conception 

This is one of the most commonly heard treatments for infertility, for this includes the likes of In Vitro Fertilisation, also known as IVF. This process is when an egg is fertilised outside of the body and then returned to the body once the fertilised egg has developed to a certain level. 

Medication is generally used alongside this process to encourage the production of eggs. The NHS in the UK usually offers one round of IVF, whereas you would need to pay for treatment after this. You should also check with your medical provider in your region or your insurance policy to understand what you are entitled to.

Infertility can be a challenging condition to navigate; there is no doubt about that. Regardless, we hope you are leaving us with a better idea of how infertility is a disease and what ways you can manage it.

Conclusion

Infertility is considered a disease, however, as with many diseases there are ways to find a solution. 

One such way is to look at your current lifestyle. If it involves reduced sleep, poor nutrition, recreational drugs or alcohol it is probabaly best to step away and make some changes that involve a healthier direction. 

Obviously keep trying to conceive, but you can also take a fertility test to get a more affirmitive understanding of your fertility. However, do be aware that infertility is rising, and has been for a while, notwithstanding that fertility rates reduce with age, so you are not alone. 

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