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This medical research paper will take a holistic approach to examining the phenomenon of infertility, focusing on both the physical and emotional ramifications of the condition.  In the course of the discussion, various types, causes, and treatments of infertility will be examined, as well as the emotional responses of patients undergoing treatment for infertility.


In the context of this research paper, infertility will be defined as a disease or condition of the male or female reproductive system resulting in the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse or the inability to carry a pregnancy to the delivery of a live baby.

The drive to reproduce and raise offspring has been a defining instinct in the human race for thousands of years, even before our species had a spoken language in which this complex desire could be fully articulated.  This desire is not absolute or consistent in humans; while some may consciously choose to live childfree, the quest to reproduce may be the central goal for others. Although the physical mechanism behind the quest to reproduce is not yet fully understood, it is clear that it is been present and played a major role in the traditions, cultures, and sacred beliefs of most past and present civilizations.

In modern times, couples who are unable to conceive through natural means have the option of legally adopting an infant or child whose parents, for various reasons, are unable to provide proper care. Although adoption is a viable solution for many couples faced with infertility, some are not comfortable with pursuing it as an alternative to conception, feeling strongly that they wish to bear and raise a child that is biologically related to them.

For couples unable to conceive naturally who decide that adoption is not a fitting alternative for their particular situation, the first step in the process to treat infertility is attempting to diagnosis the source of the infertility. In order to do this, both partners undergo a series of preliminary diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if either conforms to any of the readily recognizable etiologies for fertility.

In women, who are the cause of roughly 30-35% of infertility problems in couples, there are a number of problems and conditions that can result in the inability to conceive a child. In general, older women appear to have increased difficulty in carrying healthy, live infants to full term. There has been much speculation about the exact way that older age in women can result in decreased chances of fertility, but there is not yet a universally accepted theoretical explanation for this pattern. There are, however, many more specific ways that a woman’s fertility can be impaired. One of the most common is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is an infection of the reproductive tract that is often linked to past history of sexually transmitted disease, but can also be brought about by miscarriage, use of an intrauterine device for contraception, surgical abortion, or childbirth. The way that PID can result in infertility usually centers on blockage of ova in the fallopian tubes.

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