The inability to produce a biological child naturally is referred to as sterility. The condition can impact both men and women but requires different treatments to tackle the problem. For men, sterility means sperm is either not produced or released. Common causes can include impotence or erectile dysfunction (ER) and medical interventions such as cancer treatments. Similarly, a man who opts to have a vasectomy would also be technically sterile and unable to have children naturally without ART treatments.
Sterility in females
For women, being sterile usually means that ovulation is difficult. Sometimes, the phenomenon is caused by a hormonal imbalance, but abnormal ovaries can also be a culprit. In most cases, urine tests that monitor hormones can be easily administered to determine if ovulation is even occurring. Other underlying conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis, can also interfere with ovulation.
How ART helps sterility
While sterility and infertility aren’t the same, conception can’t occur naturally in both cases. For these people, ART solutions can be a lifeline. Depending on the condition causing sterility, different treatments can be used to help women get pregnant.
ART sterility solutions
In a man that has a blockage preventing the sperm from being released, in vitro fertilization (IVF) with testicular sperm extraction (TESE) can be a smart choice. Whether because of a vasectomy or a different reason, the TESE process extracts sperm directly from the testes and inserts a single sperm directly into the egg using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to facilitate fertilization. If sterility is caused by endometriosis or PCOS, a woman might consider undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, IVF, or even intrauterine insemination (IUI) to increase the chances of pregnancy.
Finding conception alternatives
Sterility can be a daunting diagnosis, especially when the condition is unexpected. However, innovations in fertility treatments mean that men and women no longer have to assume that conception is impossible. While treatment recommendations for each case will vary, having children with sterility is possible. If a man or woman suspects that sterility is delaying conception, consider speaking with a fertility specialist.