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Infertility

Infertility

Description:

This lesson will explain causes of infertility in males and females as well as identify options for those coping with infertility.

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Tutorial

What's Covered


Today you will learn about the causes of infertility, as well as methods for coping with infertility.  Specifically you will focus on:

  1. Infertility

1. INFERTILITY


Infertility is the inability of one or both parents to conceive a child. There are various  factors that can contribute to a person being infertile such as: hormones, low sperm count for the male, or defective sperm. For the female, it could be poor quality oocytes or anatomic issues involved. 

Term to Know

Infertility


When one or both partners are unable to conceive a child.

One of the ways that people cope with infertility is by using fertility drugs. Fertility drugs will help boost fertility by elevating FSH, which is follicle stimulating hormone and triggers ovulation. Fertility drugs are also used as a highly-purified form of FSH will just be directly injected into the female's bloodstream, which will also help to trigger ovulation. 

Some other ways of coping with infertility involve assisted reproductive technologies, which include artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization. Artificial insemination is a process in which semen are injected into the vagina or uterus by a syringe around the time of ovulation. This is a good option for a man who has a low sperm count and increases the odds of his sperm reaching the egg for fertilization.

Term to Know


Artificial Insemination


The process of inserting a needle into the vagina and inserting semen into the female.

In-vitro fertilization is another type of assisted reproductive technology. In-vitro fertilization involves sperm and oocytes being placed in a glass dish to become fertilized. The sperm and oocytes are placed in a glass dish to become fertilized. Then days later, the embryos are transferred into uterus.

Term to Know

In-Vitro Fertilization


When a woman’s ova are fertilized by sperm in a Petri dish and later inserted into the mother for implantation.

Here, fertilization is taking place outside of the body between sperm and oocytes, which are then transferred into the uterus. This can only be done if both partners' gametes are viable, if this is not the case then donor gametes must be used. 

There is actually some ethical debate that goes along with this method because oftentimes there will be extra embryos that are unused. Sometimes these extra embryos will be frozen and can be used if the couple later in the future wants to use in-vitro fertilization again and, sometimes they can be used for stem cell research.The ethical debate is primarily about what to do with these unused embryos. 

Two variations of in-vitro fertilization involve GIFT and ZIFT. GIFT stands for: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer. This is where the sperm and the oocyte are collected, and then placed into the ova duct separately. Here they will hopefully undergo fertilization. 

ZIFT stands for Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer. What happens in this case is the oocytes and sperm are placed in a lab dish. They're fertilized outside of the body to produce a zygote and the zygote is placed into the ova duct.
The main difference between GIFT and ZIFT is where the gametes undergo fertilization. 

Terms to Know


Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)


When ova are surgically removed from the ovaries and inserted into the fallopian tubes/oviducts along with male sperm to induce fertilization.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)


When ova are surgically removed from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a Petri dish; the fertilized zygotes are inserted into the fallopian tubes/oviducts.

Summary

This lesson has been an overview on causes of fertility and ways to cope with infertility.  There are ways to cope with infertility, such as fertility drugs, artificial insemination, and in-vitro fertilization.

Good luck.

Source: This work adapted from Sophia Author Amanda Soderlind.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

    When ova are surgically removed from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a Petri dish; the fertilized zygotes are inserted into the fallopian tubes/oviducts.

  • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

    When ova are surgically removed from the ovaries and inserted into the fallopian tubes/oviducts along with male sperm to induce fertilization.

  • Artificial Insemination

    The process of inserting a needle into the vagina and inserting semen into the female.

  • In-Vitro Fertilization

    When a woman’s ova are fertilized by sperm in a Petri dish and later inserted into the mother for implantation.

  • Infertility

    When one or both partners are unable to conceive a child.