McFarland Clinic

Infertility Awareness Week: Causes of Infertility

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April 24, 2012

Common Causes of Infertility
According to an article on McFarland Clinic’s online library, Healthwise, in cases of infertility, the cause of the fertility problem is linked to the woman’s reproductive system 50 percent of the time and to the man’s reproductive system 35 percent of the time. In 10 out of every 100 cases of infertility, no known cause is discovered despite testing.
There are a wide variety of causes of infertility in both men and women, which is why working with your physician on the appropriate infertility testing is so important. Some of the more common causes include the following:
For Women
  • Fallopian tube blockage: If one or both fallopian tubes are blocked, a woman’s egg cannot travel to meet the man’s sperm, making pregnancy impossible. Blocked fallopian tubes are often the result of a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, abdominal surgery, or uterine infection.
  • Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue that normally lines your uterus also grows in other places, like your ovaries, inhibiting your chances of getting pregnant.
  • Premature ovarian failure: Premature ovarian failure is a condition where women experience a loss of ovarian function before the age of 40, often resulting in few to no eggs produced by the ovaries.
  • PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormone imbalance that often results in a lack of ovulation, meaning the woman’s body will fail to produce a mature egg for implantation. Other types of ovulation disorders due to hormone imbalances can cause infertility as well, but PCOS is the most common.
For Men
  • Low sperm count: Low sperm count is the primary cause of infertility in men and can be the result of a variety of biological and environmental factors.
  • Impaired shape and/or movement of sperm: There can also be problems with sperm morphology and motility, caused by a variety of underlying conditions, which can limit the sperm’s ability to reach and penetrate the egg.
  • Blockage of ducts: Blocked ejaculatory ducts, which a man would be born with, impair the emission of semen, making it unlikely sperm will be present to fertilize the woman’s egg.    

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