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The inability of a woman to get pregnant is referred to as infertility. A woman may also be infertile if she keeps miscarrying after conception. Lots of couples have fertility problems. Infertility can be caused by problems in a woman as well as in a man.

Causes Of Infertility

Infertility can be caused by many factors. It may be due to problems in the woman, man, or both.

Infertility In Women

A woman is most fertile in her early 20s. The chance a woman can get pregnant drops greatly after age 35. Infertility problems and miscarriage rates increase significantly after the age of 35 years. However, the age when fertility starts to decline varies from woman to woman.

Infertility in a woman may be caused by the following ovulation problems:

  • The ovaries have problems producing eggs.
  • The eggs cannot move from the ovaries to the womb.
  • The fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus.
  • A fertilized egg or embryo does not survive once it attaches to the lining of the uterus (womb).

Infertility in women may be caused by the following disorders:

  • Birth defects that affect the reproductive tract
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Growth of fibroids or polyps in the uterus and cervix
  • Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Pelvic infection resulting in scarring or swelling of fallopian tubes (hydrosalpinx) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Scarring from sexually transmitted infection, abdominal surgery or endometriosis
  • Tubal ligation (surgery to prevent pregnancy) or failure of tubal ligation reversal
  • Autoimmune disorders like antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cancer or tumor
  • Clotting disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Medicines such as chemotherapy drugs
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Excessive exercise
  • Poor nutrition
  • Eating disorders
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Infertility In Men

Infertility in men may be caused by the following problems with sperm:

  • Problems with the production of sperm
  • Decreased number of sperm
  • Defects in the sperm
  • Poor sperm motility (inability of sperm to swim and reach the egg)
  • A blockage that prevents the sperm from being released

Infertility in men can also be caused by the following factors:

  • Birth defects
  • Impotence
  • Infection
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Scarring from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), injury, or surgery
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Medicines such as cimetidine, spironolactone, and nitrofurantoin
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Exposure to high heat for prolonged periods
  • Excessive use of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Toxins in the environment
  • Vasectomy or failure of vasectomy reversal