A couple that has been unable to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse is considered infertile. Today, 25 per cent of couples are infertile. There is a worldwide emotional epidemic of infertility. Even in India, which has severe overpopulation, the most common reason for a visit to the doctor is infertility.
In Nigeria, infertility, which used to be a small area of gynecology practice, has now become a huge discipline with several doctors devoting their clinic solely to the practice of treating infertility.
As we get older, our ability to get pregnant decreases. Only one per cent of teenagers are infertile, while a large majority of infertile couples are in their 30s. It is well documented that from our teen years when the last thing we wanted was a child, to our mid 30s when we are finally secure enough to start our family, our ability to conceive decreases almost by 25 per cent.
Research shows that in the past 30 years, incidence of infertility has increased and those over 30 have the most problems. If you are in your 30s and have been working to establish yourself in your profession, and are now just casually reading this column because you are thinking, ‘maybe in a few years, I might like to start a family,’ you should realize that there is a 25 per cent chance you will not be able to do so without medical intervention.
Other factors that may make it difficult for you to get pregnant include abnormal organs, immunological factors and other malfunctioning of the body system.
The dramatic increases in infertility over the last 30 years has been blamed on various factors, including the increases in sexually transmitted diseases, environmental pollution — particularly in the oil producing geographical zones, declining sperm count from absorption of toxic substances and even the increased tension and anxiety of the modern life. Most importantly, infertility is common in humans because the human reproductive system was never that efficient, to begin with.
In all other animals except humans, the desire to have sexual intercourse is timed to correspond exactly to that moment when the female is ovulating or producing eggs that can be fertilized. Take, for instance, a dog or a rabbit. Once the female is ovulating, she seeks out the male and after intercourse, the female is usually pregnant with multiple pregnancies. Humans, however, desire to have sex at any time, regardless of whether there is an egg that can be fertilized in the woman; and it makes us re-productively more inefficient than other animals.
We know that in all species, there is a very short window — in fact, a matter of days — during each month that the female is fertile and can get pregnant through sexual intercourse. The timing of sex is therefore very important if a species is to have an efficient and high fertility rate.
In humans, women go through a period of 14 days when the follicle in the ovary develops. This starts from day one of the menstruation until the egg is sufficiently mature and ready for ovulation. Once the egg is released at ovulation, there is another 14-day period that it can be fertilized. If sexual intercourse occurs at the right time, then the embryo grows and implants in the uterus, or womb. If sexual intercourse occurs at another time other than the ovulating period, it is very unlikely that the woman will get pregnant.
Animals go through what is described as an “estrus” cycle or “heat.” Humans go through a menstrual cycle. Apart from other hormonal variations, one significant difference between humans and animals is that the female sex hormone, estrogen, which increases just before ovulation in animals, is the trigger factor for their sex drive. This hormone is responsible for producing eggs. In other words, animals do not desire to have sex unless there is an egg to be fertilized in the female’s womb.
In humans, sex desire is much more complex and is not driven by the female sex hormone, estrogen; but by the male sex hormone, testosterone. This is unique in the animal kingdom and it is especially a human phenomenon.
The small amount of testosterone that the female makes is enough to generate sexual drive in her. It is only few females that recognize the slight increase in testosterone around the ovulation period to enable them deliberately initiate sex at the appropriate time to get pregnant.
culled from www.punchng.com