Infertility is a tough issue that touches the lives of millions of people worldwide. It is common knowledge that factors like age, health status, or lifestyle can influence fertility, but did you know that some people are born infertile?
Congenital infertility is when a person is born with reproductive organs or systems that can't produce viable eggs or sperm that lead to conception. Congenital infertility can affect both males and females and can have different origins, including genetic, hormonal, structural, or developmental issues.
What Are The Causes Of Congenital Infertility?
Some people have genetic disorders like Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, or even Y chromosome deletions that can interfere with the normal development and functioning of reproductive organs or throw the hormone production needed for fertility, off balance.
Structural issues in the reproductive organs can block the path of eggs or sperm, or mess with their production. Conditions that affect the formation of the uterus, absent or blocked fallopian tubes, or even undescended testicles in men, can impact fertility.
Hormonal imbalances during fetal development can cause infertility later in life. These imbalances can affect the production, release, or reception of three important reproductive hormones, namely: luteinising hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone.
Müllerian agenesis and androgen insensitivity syndrome are developmental disorders that affect the reproductive system and can lead to infertility. These conditions disrupt the development of reproductive structures, making conception and pregnancy really tough, if not impossible.
The Emotional Impact Of Congenital Infertility
Finding out you're dealing with congenital infertility can be heart-wrenching, especially for those longing to start a family. It can bring up feelings of grief, loss, and a sense of feeling "different." The societal and cultural pressure around parenthood can amplify these emotions, leading to anxiety, depression, and strained relationships.
Are There Ways To Overcome Congenital Infertility?
Here's the good news: congenital infertility does not have to be the end of your dream to have a family of your own.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and gamete or embryo donation are solutions to consider, for those grappling with congenital infertility.
If you can't carry a pregnancy, surrogacy is an alternative way to have a child. During surrogacy, a surrogate mother carries the pregnancy to term on behalf of the intended parents.
Of course, there's always adoption and foster care, which provide beautiful opportunities for people to build a family and experience the joys of parenthood while offering a loving and supportive home for kids who need it.
In a nutshell, congenital infertility can seriously impact the dream of having children for many individuals or couples. It is important to understand the causes, implications, and available treatments of congenital infertility, if you're affected.
As a society, we can raise awareness and provide support to help create an inclusive and compassionate environment that respects all kinds of journeys to parenthood.