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Causes of Infertility

QUESTION: What are the causes of infertility?


There are numerous causes of infertility and couples should consult a fertility doctor to find the cause that fits their situation. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reports: "Conception is a complicated process that depends upon many factors: on the production of healthy sperm by the man and healthy eggs by the woman; unblocked fallopian tubes that allow the sperm to reach the egg; the sperm's ability to fertilize the egg when they meet; the ability of the fertilized egg (embryo) to become implanted in the woman's uterus; and sufficient embryo quality."

Infertility affects men and women equally. Generally 40% of infertility is attributed to the male, while 40% is attributed to the female. Ten percent is generally a combination of the male and female and the other 10% is unexplained.

Here are the primary causes of infertility:

For women:
  • Ovulation problems
  • Damaged cervix
  • Pelvic and tubal factors, like endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, etc.
  • Uterine factors, such as fibroids.
For men:
  • No sperm count
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm mobility or quality
  • Genetic disease
Doctors generally will conduct an examination of both the male and the female and then run a variety of tests to determine the specific cause of the infertility. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, "Most infertility cases - 85% to 90% - are treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery."

Learn More About Trying to Conceive.

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