Common Causes of Infertility

Featured Article, Fertility, Women's Health
on August 1, 2013

Infertility is a heartbreaking situation for any couple. Despite best efforts, a successful pregnancy is sometimes impossible to obtain, causing significant emotional pain and stress. If you are battling infertility, you should be aware that there are a number of common causes.

Female infertility. According to the Mayo Clinic, around a third of all infertility cases can be attributed to the female partner. There are a range of different causes for female infertility, but most commonly, these include:

  • Endometriosis — This is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. Laparoscopic surgery can be conducted to remove the abnormal tissue.
  • Ovulation problems — A number of problems can prevent the release of an egg from the ovary, but most are caused by hormonal issues. These issues can commonly be addressed with ovulation-stimulating drugs.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — This is a condition whereby the body produces too much of the hormone androgen, which causes problems ovulating. This can sometimes be addressed with drugs, hormone therapy or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Male infertility. The Mayo Clinic also outlines that around a third of infertility cases are caused by problems solely from the male. These include:

  • Sperm problems — Problems with the testicles, genetic defects or serious infections can all inhibit the male's capability to produce sperm. Fertility drugs can boost the production of sperm, while artificial insemination can increase the possibility of a successful fertilization.
  • Tube blockages — The vas deferensor epididymis are the tubes that transport fertile sperm. Varicose veins in the testicles can often cause tube blockages, preventing successful sperm transportation. Surgery is normally required to address this.

Issues with both partners. The remaining third of all cases is attributed to problems with both partners or with problems that cannot be diagnosed. This can further complicate the situation, as it may be very difficult to identify what is causing the infertility. While the range of treatments is improving all the time, it is possible that for reasons that cannot be explained, some couples will simply never be able to conceive a child.