Conception akin to pinball wizardry

HUMAN BEINGS are the most infertile of all mammals. Scientists suspect this is due to the way women ovulate, releasing just one egg every month, writes Steve Connor.

Even when a human egg is fertilised by a sperm there is only a one in five chance of it developing into a baby. To have a successful conception and pregnancy can be likened, therefore, to being a pinball wizard, according to the Science Museum's exhibition, The Infertility Maze.

Problems with a man's reproductive system account for about 30 per cent of the causes of infertility. These include: Too few sperm, with a man producing less than 20 million sperm in each ejaculation, rather than the average of 120 million.

Poor quality sperm, which either cannot swim straight and fast to reach the egg, or are abnormal for other reasons.

No sperm at all, usually due to blocked tubes in the testes or hormonal problems.

The more common situation, however, is for the woman to have a fertility problem. These include: Failure to ovulate, accounting for at least 40 per cent of female infertility. This can be due to a number of reasons, including being under or over-weight, and hormonal imbalances.

Blocked fallopian tubes, which carry the unfertilised egg from the ovaries to the uterus.

Disease of the womb, such as benign tumours.

Poor cervical mucus, which blocks the entry of sperm to the uterus.

Endometriosis, where the lining of the womb grows outside the womb.

Recurrent miscarriage, sometimes because women produce abnormal embryos, or have some other hormonal problem.

The Science Museum has set up an infertility telephone inquiry service, operating between 1pm and 7pm from Monday to Friday on 0345 600444.

The Infertility Maze is open between 19 October and 26 February 1995.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral