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The reproductive organs of females and males have separate processes that may be affected by environmental and personal factors. One of the issues that have many underlying aspects is infertility. Different types of infertility have an impact on approximately 10-15% of all couples, which struggle with male infertility, female infertility, or both (Huether & McCance, 2017). Moreover, the age of a person who experiences difficulties with conception also affects women and men differently. Infertility is a disorder that limits people’s ability to reproduce; its causes vary due to the construction of the reproductive systems, age often is a determining factor in female but not in male health.
Disorders: Similarities and Differences
It is clear that women and men experience the lack of fertility differently since their reproductive systems have unique functions. In females, the main issues leading to infertility may be linked to ovulatory conditions such as diminished ovarian reserve, polycystic ovary syndrome, or hypothalamic amenorrhea (Hammer & McPhee, 2014). Other concerns include pelvic and tubal causes – endometriosis, inflammation, and infections. Infertility can be an outcome of hyperprolactinemia and thyroid disease, damage to any part of the reproductive system, as well as pelvic adhesions (Hammer & McPhee, 2014; Huether & McCance, 2017). Some of the cases of lowered fecundity cannot be traced to a particular issue, receiving the diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Similarly, male infertility is mostly related to the problems of the reproductive system. For instance, testicular causes are related to the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, such as hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia, hemochromatosis, and other abnormalities of genetic development (Hammer & McPhee, 2014).
Furthermore, a variety of testicular problems lower fecundity as well, including the formation of varicoceles which are linked to impaired spermatogenesis. Here, such factors as trauma, smoking, infections, and exposure to toxins can disrupt the normal process of spermatogenesis and lower fertility (Hammer & McPhee, 2014). Some other causes involve post-testicular issues that result in disorders of ejaculation.
The onset of the condition, thus, is closely related to people’s reproductive systems. It is vital to note that the “male factor” is more prevalent in couples than a female one, with almost 40%-50% of all cases involving a man with fertility concerns (Kumar & Singh, 2015). Factors contributing to infertility such as trauma, smoking, and hormonal changes are similar for the sexes. On the other hand, female infertility is mostly connected to problems with ovulation, while males may experience issues with producing sperm and delivering it.
Another difference between the sexes and the development of infertility is the factor of age. Female fecundity is dependent on age, as ovulation is directly linked to menstruation and menopause (Hammer & McPhee, 2014).
Therefore, there exists a diagnosis of age-related infertility for women. According to Somigliana et al. (2016), this is a problem that leads to misdiagnosis of women with other underlying issues, which greatly limits these patients’ access to possible treatment. In men, fertility is not as strongly related to age, although the studies find that men older than 30 may experience changes in fecundity rates (Kumar & Singh, 2015). More than that, the quality of the sperm, as well as its motility, also decreases with age. Nonetheless, the problem of age-related infertility is not as analyzed in men as it is in women.
The problem of infertility affects many couples that try to conceive, with one or both of the partners being affected by some underlying causes. In both females and males, the reproductive system can be influenced by infections, trauma, and smoking. However, women have problems with ovulation, while men experience issues with sperm production and delivery. Age is a patient factor that has an impact on many people, with women being largely affected by menstrual changes and men experiencing the decline in fertility later in life.
Hammer, G. D., & McPhee, S. J. (2014). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2017). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Kumar, N., & Singh, A. K. (2015). Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, 8(4), 191-196.
Somigliana, E., Paffoni, A., Busnelli, A., Filippi, F., Pagliardini, L., Vigano, P., & Vercellini, P. (2016). Age-related infertility and unexplained infertility: An intricate clinical dilemma. Human Reproduction, 31(7), 1390-1396.