In medical terms, infertility is referred to as a woman’s inability to conceive, even after a year of unprotected intercourse. Although infertility is considered to be a concern often associated with women, not many people know that male-related infertility accounts for one-third of the cases. Studies also indicate that the infertility cause remains unidentified in 25% of couples planning to have a baby.
Here are some common and not-so-common factors of female and male infertility:
Infertility in Women
· Tubal Disease – damage or blockage of the Fallopian tubes.
· Ovulatory dysfunction or anovulation – egg is not released from the ovary every month.
· Endometriosis – affects the function of the Fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries.
· Uterine or cervical abnormalities – abnormalities in the shape or cavity of the uterus or problems with the opening/closing of the cervix.
· Gynecological problems - previous ectopic pregnancy or more than one miscarriage.
Less Common Factors
· Premature menopause
· Use of medications that induce temporary infertility
· Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
· Absence of menstruation
Infertility in Men
· Low sperm count or quality
· Problems with the delivery of sperm
· Erectile dysfunction
· Premature ejaculation
Less Common Factors
· Inflammation of testes (Orchitis)
· Blocked testicle(s)
· Any drug treatment or exposure to chemotherapy, saunas or hot tubs
Some common factors which can lead to infertility issues in both men and women are:
· Genetic abnormalities
· Lifestyle factors such as being overweight, stress, smoking, drugs or contact with/ingestion of harmful chemicals.
· Medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and thyroid (mostly in women).
· Age-related infertility - though it affects females more (after the age of 35), males suffer from it too.
Medical tests could help to determine the actual cause of infertility, and artificial treatment options available to the couple thereafter.