On Barren Ground

For many couples, planning a family in the new millennium requires careful thought. There are many considerations that go through the couple’s minds when they think of expanding their family. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why fertility rates appear to be on the decline.

However, there are couples who try very hard to have a baby and yet, remain unsuccessful. This condition is described as infertility, and is most commonly defined as the inability to conceive a child or carry a pregnancy to full term. It is one of the most severe crises that a person or couple may ever face, and presents a tremendous physical, emotional, and financial challenge.

Tracking down the problem

Infertility is essentially a couple’s problem, and can be due to contribution from both male and female partners.

Factors in Males Factors in Females
  • Tube blockages
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Sperm allergy
  • Ovulation problems
  • Poor egg quality
  • Fallopian tube blockages

The above factors may be a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits which include:

Unhealthy diet

  • Saturated fat

    Intake of high levels of saturated fat can reduce blood flow to the reproductive organs resulting in a disruption in the menstrual cycle in women, and a decrease in the production of sperm in men.

  • Caffeine

    A moderate intake of caffeine does not cause either infertility or miscarriage. However, an overdose of caffeine can cause over-production of certain hormones which may affect ovulation and hamper conception.

  • Alcohol

    Although moderate drinking can improve blood circulation to the reproductive organs, excessive alcohol consumption may interfere with ovulation negatively and lead to infertility. In men, there could be a decrease in testosterone production, leading to low quality of sperm and sexual desire.


While doctors may not know exact links between stress and fertility, a series of studies shows the impact is hard to ignore. Research has shown that the brain produces special molecules, which can interact with every cell of the body, including those of the immune system. In this view, the mind and the body are connected, and stress can have a negative influence on fertility.


Female age is important when considering probability for getting pregnant. Increased infertility rates with aging are well documented and apparent in our society. As women delay childbearing, the quantity and quality of eggs are reduced, resulting in more couples needing advanced treatment such as in vitro fertilisation.

Resolving infertility is often a long and challenging battle, but not one that has to be fought alone. Treatment for infertility requires a team approach and should include both medical and alternative health options. Stay tuned for our next issue of Positive Parenting, which will include solutions to overcome your infertility crisis.

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