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Infertility as a social disease

Infertility, which affects many married couples, has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a societal disease. Diagnosis and treatment of infertility in women are handled by gynecologists and endocrinologists, while in men by andrologists.

There are several classifications of infertility. According to one criterion, we distinguish primary infertility (sterilitas primaria), when a woman has never been pregnant, secondary infertility (sterilitas secundaria), when a woman has already been pregnant but unable to conceive again due to childbirth or miscarriage (natural or induced), and the inability to carry a pregnancy to term (infertilitas) - a situation where there are no difficulties in getting pregnant, but pregnancies end in miscarriage or premature birth.

Infertility as a societal disease
Infertility can affect only men (male infertility) or only women (female infertility), but often both partners have fertility disorders (marital infertility). In about 10% of cases, available diagnostic methods fail to establish the cause of infertility - this is called idiopathic infertility.

Many couples trying to conceive ask themselves how to fight infertility.

Sometimes, simply changing lifestyle habits is enough. Infertility in women can be caused by:

  • Smoking,
  • Rapid and drastic changes in body weight.

In men:

  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Harmful working conditions.
  • Alcohol.

Help can come from:

  • Avoiding stress.
  • Active relaxation.
  • Vitamins, especially C and E.
  • Diets rich in zinc, magnesium, copper, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.

The most common causes of female infertility are fallopian tube obstruction (30-35%) and hormonal disorders (25%).
In men, testicular damage, which affects sperm production, can be caused by certain diseases or genital organ defects. These include: orchitis (caused by mumps, Coxsackie viruses, or Herpes), mechanical testicular injury, testicular torsion, varicocele, undescended testicles, abnormal penile structure and defects such as hypospadias, epispadias. Scars from surgery and trauma can also impair fertility and hinder proper sexual intercourse.

With regular unprotected intercourse, 50% of women conceive in the first year, and another 30% in the second year. In Poland, infertility is discussed when after these 2 years of unprotected intercourse, conception does not occur. However, in highly developed countries, due to the older age of couples starting families and wanting to have children, diagnosis and treatment of infertility begin after one year.

According to global statistics, the problem of infertility affects 8-18% of couples (in Poland, infertility is estimated at 14-20%). However, it is age-dependent, as the period of highest female fertility occurs between the ages of 20 and 25, followed by a significant decline after 35 years and physiological infertility after menopause. Thus, the percentage of couples seeking treatment for infertility among young people up to the age of 35 is lower, but it is more common among older partners.

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