Barrenness/Infertility: Causes, Prevention, Treatment!

A good number of couples find it difficult to conceive, many years after they tie the knots with their partners. For some, it might be due to some underlying health conditions. For some others, it just might be due to not timing their intercourse.

You call it “Barrenness”, We call it INFERTILITY!

Table of Content

What Is Infertility?

It is the inability to get pregnant after having FREQUENT, PENETRATIVE, EJACULATORY, UNPROTECTED SEX for at least 1 YEAR.

Those words in capital letters are very important.

  • It must be frequent: at least once every 2 days. To know your fertile period, See the best time here:
  • There must be Ejaculation: The man must release his sperm inside your vagina.
  • It must be unprotected: you do not have sex with condom, and be crying about not getting pregnant.

Before we go further, Let us explain a few things. For pregnancy to occur;

  • There has to be a Sperm (from the man) and an Egg (from the woman).
  • The sperm has to meet the egg, and both of them would join (fertilize). Hence, both the sperm & the egg has to be OK.
  • The fertilized Egg & Sperm has to Implant in the Womb of the woman (hence, there has to be no structural problem with the woman’s womb).

What Causes Infertility/Barrenness?

Infertility can be as a result of male factors (the man) or female factors (the woman).

MALE CAUSES: This has to do with issues of the sperm. Remember we said the sperm has to be okay (in both number & quality) for pregnancy to occur. These possible problems with sperm are:

  1. Abnormal Sperm Production: This can be as a result of health Problems like Diabetes, infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and genetic defects. This produces sperms that are not viable (good). Overexposure to certain chemicals, Cigarette, marijuana smoking, excessive alcohol intake etc can affect sperm production. Hence, where a man works is very important. You need to stop these if you really want to try to make that baby. Long distance driving also affects sperm production, due to the heat from the seat (where the car engine is beneath).
  2. Problems With Delivery Of Sperms: This includes sexual issues like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, genetic problems, blockage in the testes would cause difficulties delivering sperms that would make babies in a woman.
  3. Damage to the male reproductive system caused by cancer treatment (Chemotherapy).

FEMALE CAUSES: This can be due to the Egg, the tube, the womb or the hormones.

  1. Ovulation Disorders: There are many hormone disorders that might affect the release of eggs from the ovaries during ovulation. They are a major cause.
  2. Abnormalities Of The Womb: Cancerous growths and non-cancerous growths such as fibroid can occupy space meant for the baby in the womb.
  3. Blockage or damage of the fallopian tubes caused by infections like PID, Salpingitis, etc.
  4. Early Menopause/Ovarian Failure: This is when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before the age of 40.
  5. Cancer and its treatments.

Things That Increases The Risk Of Infertility In Both Men and Women:

  1. Age: Women- fertility drops from age 37 in women. Men- Over 40 men will be less fertile
  2. Tobacco Use: Miscarriage in women and erectile dysfunction in men
  3. Alcohol Use: Decreases sperm count in men
  4. Weight: Being Overweight (Obese) and underweight has been proven to affect fertility in both men and women.

How do I Manage/Treat Infertility?

If you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year without success, it is recommended that you;.

  1. See your doctor, especially your gynecologist: you should do this with your husband/partner. Its a couple thing.
  2. Do the required tests that the doctor would ask you to do (both man & wife) to find out any medical causes & treat it.
  3. Always try to have sex every 2 days, especially during your fertile period which targets ovulation. See how to know your fertile period here.
  4. Avoid risk factors that can delay your pregnancy. (See preconception care)

Prevention Strategies for infertility

A good number of the damages that happens to our reproductive system happens at the adolescent/youth stage. One major way of preventing infertility is by making lifestyle changes.

  1. Stop smoking
  2. Stop drinking
  3. Practice safe sex: infections can cause damage to the fallopian tubes or the male vas.
  4. Avoid Unsafe Abortions: unsafe abortions can lead to damages to the womb & tubes
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Visit the hospital not church.

Please and please “Barrenness” is a term that shouldn’t even be attributed to a HUMAN BEING.

And those that feel its only women that causes “Infertility”. That’s a lie,it is equally shared!!!


  • Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu

    Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu currently works as a medical officer at Prince Of Peace Specialist Hospital in Lagos. He holds an MBBS Degree from the Abia State University. He is a story teller, script writer and a lover of sport. You can follow him on twitter below.

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