What is infertility?
Healthcare providers consider a couple infertile if they try but fail to get pregnant within one year. When the woman is older than 35, the amount of time trying to conceive drops to six months for an infertility diagnosis. In women over 40, immediate evaluation is warranted. Infertility does not include miscarrying or being unable to carry a baby to childbirth.
What causes infertility?
Causes of infertility vary:
- 1 in 3 infertile women have a problem with the female reproductive system.
- 1 in 3 infertile men have a problem with the male reproductive system.
- 1 in 3 couples have a problem that affects both of them or an undetermined issue.
How common is infertility?
An estimated 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving.
Women who have pregnancy problems may lose the baby:
What are the types of infertility?
Types of infertility include:
- Primary: A woman who was never pregnant and who can’t conceive after one year of not using birth control.
- Secondary: Secondary infertility occurs when a woman can’t get pregnant again after having at least one successful pregnancy.
What are risk factors for infertility in all genders?
These factors increase the risk of infertility in all genders:
- Age (over age 35 for women or over 40 for men).
- Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
- Excessive alcohol use.
- Exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead and pesticides.
- Over exercising.
- Radiation therapy or other cancer treatments.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Substance abuse.
- Weight problems (obesity or underweight).
What are risk factors for female infertility?
These factors can contribute to female infertility:
- Abnormal menstruation.
- Blocked fallopian tubes.
- Celiac disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Past ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Pituitary gland disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ovarian cysts and primary ovarian insufficiency.
- Sickle cell anemia.
- Uterine problems, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids and uterine polyps.
- Thyroid disease.
What are risk factors for male infertility?
These factors can cause male infertility:
- Enlarged veins (varicocele) in the scrotum, the sac that holds the testicles.
- Genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.
- High heat exposure to testicles from tight clothing or frequent use of hot tubs and saunas.
- Injury to the scrotum or testicles.
- Low sperm count or low testosterone (hypogonadism).
- Misuse of anabolic steroids.
- Premature ejaculation or retrograde ejaculation (semen flows back into the bladder).
- Testicular cancer and treatments.
- Undescended testicles.