Infertility by inheritance: what is it and is it possible to overcome it?

Infertility is a real scourge of modernity, but, alas, it is not always caused by external factors. What role can genetics play in this issue? And what is important to know about it?

Бесплодие по наследству: что это такое и возможно ли его побороть?

Infertility can be caused by a number of reasons — both in the male and female reproductive system. And in some cases, the factor of genetics is also involved. Together with Elena Dalinina, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the New Polyclinic medical Center, we talk about the real causes of this problem and what role heredity plays in this.

The World Health Organization defines infertility as a disease of the male or female reproductive system. A clear marker of the problem is the inability to get pregnant after regular unprotected sexual acts throughout the year.

Infertility worries millions of people of reproductive age around the world. In medicine, it is customary to divide it into primary and secondary. The first is diagnosed if the woman has never had a pregnancy, and the second if the woman has been in the position at least once. 

What causes infertility?

Infertility can be caused by a huge number of reasons. This is the absence of ovulation due to hormonal imbalance associated with disorders in the hypothalamic-pituitary system, ovaries, thyroid gland. The deviation can also be caused by adrenal gland disease, obstruction of the fallopian tubes, uterine diseases and immune problems associated with high levels of antibodies that cause sperm death.

Бесплодие по наследству: что это такое и возможно ли его побороть?

What does genetics have to do with it?

Genetic infertility can also be distinguished, in which there are chromosomal abnormalities, changes at the gene level and diseases with hereditary predisposition – multifactorial diseases. These include most chronic diseases, including cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, neuropsychiatric, oncological. The most common causes of genetic infertility in women are the following:

  • An incorrect divergence of chromosomes during the formation of eggs, in which an incorrect set of chromosomes is formed in the germ cells. This leads to the formation of a fetus with the wrong number of chromosomes. In such cases, as a rule, pregnancy freezes;

  • Chromosomal mutations in which eggs are formed that are not capable of conception and development of a viable fetus;

  • The wrong number of sex chromosomes, for example, the Shereshevsky-Turner syndrome, in which only one X chromosome is noted. Such features lead to disorders of sexual development or congenital anatomical pathologies of the genitals. 

  • Defects in the structure of chromosomes that become a factor in hormonal insufficiency of the ovaries;

  • Mutations in blood clotting genes provoke an increased tendency to thrombosis and can also cause infertility;

  • Violation of endometrial receptivity, when the endometrial tissue does not perceive the embryo and implantation does not occur.

There is also infertility associated with the psychological state of a woman: stress, psychological overload, obsessions and fear of motherhood. There is even a so-called unspecified infertility, in which a married couple does not reveal any obvious reason why she is deprived of the opportunity to have children. A complete list of all the factors of infertility known to science can take more than one page.

Infertility and age

With age, it takes more and more time for pregnancy to occur. In women after 30 years, compared with women in 20 years, the possibility of conception is almost two times less, and after 35 years, fertility decreases significantly. At the same time, in men, the ability to fertilize an egg does not change until the age of 50.

Бесплодие по наследству: что это такое и возможно ли его побороть?

Examination of a couple for infertility should be started in men and women at the same time, and it is important not to postpone a visit to the doctor. For women under 35 years of age, consultations with an obstetrician-gynecologist should begin after 12 months of unsuccessful attempts at natural conception. For women over 35 – after 6 months.

Whatever the reason, doctors advise you to give up bad habits, bring your weight back to normal and switch to a healthy diet. Thus, unnecessary risk factors are excluded, because, for example, with obesity, the time of conception can double, and nicotine accelerates the age-related decrease in the supply of follicles in the ovaries. A healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, normal body weight and full sleep increase the likelihood of pregnancy with ovulatory dysfunction.

Interesting facts about conception

  • The highest probability of conception is directly in the first months of unprotected sexual intercourse. Then this possibility gradually decreases. Approximately 80% of married couples become pregnant within six months. 

  • The probability of pregnancy increases with the frequency of sexual intercourse every two days. Contrary to established stereotypes, in men with normal sperm quality, its concentration and mobility remain normal even with daily ejaculation.

  • The best time to conceive is the day of ovulation or 2-3 days before it. The use of water-based and silicone-based vaginal lubricants, as well as olive oil, can worsen sperm survival and reduce the onset of pregnancy.

  • There is no evidence that the position of the body during or after sexual intercourse in any way affects the likelihood of conception.

Obstetrician-gynecologist of the New Polyclinic medical Center.

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