What Causes Infertility?
A wide range of physical and emotional factors can cause infertility. Infertility may be due to problems in the woman, man, or both.
Female infertility may occur when:
- A fertilized egg or embryo does not survive once it sticks to the lining of the womb (uterus)
- The fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus
- The eggs cannot move from the ovaries to the womb
- The ovaries have problems producing eggs
Female infertility may be caused by:
- Autoimmune disorders,such as antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
- Cancer or tumor
- Clotting disorders
- Growths (such as fibroids or polyps) in the uterus and cervix
- Birth defects that affect the reproductive tract
- Excessive exercising
- Eating disorders or poor nutrition
- Use of certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Older age
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS)
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Scarring from sexually transmitted infection or endometriosis
- Surgery to prevent pregnancy (tubal ligation) or failure of tubal ligation reversal
- Thyroid, disease
- Too little or too much of certain hormones
Male infertility may be due to:
Male infertility can be caused by:
- A decrease in sperm count
- Sperm being blocked from being released
- Sperm that do not work properly
- Environmental pollutants
- Being in high heat for prolonged periods
- Birth defects
- Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine
- Too little or too much hormones
- Older age
- Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation
- Scarring from sexually transmitted diseases, injury, or surgery>
- Surgery to prevent pregnancy (vasectomy), or failure of vasectomy reversal
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Use of certain drugs, such as cimetidine, spironolactone, and nitrofurantoin
In healthy couples under age 30 who have sex regularly, the chance of getting pregnant is about 25 - 30% per month.
A woman's peak fertility occurs in her early 20s. After age 35 (and especially 40), the chances that a woman can get pregnant drops considerably.
Causes in either sex leading to Infertility
Factors that can cause male as well as female infertility are:
- A Robertsonian translocation in either partner may cause recurrent spontaneou abortions or complete infertility.
- Diabetes mellitus thyroid disorders, adrenal disease
The presence of anti-thyroid antibodies is associated with an increased risk of unexplained subfertility with an odds ratio of 1.5 and 95% confidence interval of 1.1–2.0.
- Toxins such as glues, volatile organic solvents or silicones, physical agents, chemical dusts, and pesticides. Tobacco smokers are 60% more likely to be infertile than non-smokers.