Causes of Infertility in Males and Females You Should Know
All the blogs on this website are intended to answer your toughest questions and offer relevant doubts based on scientific studies.
Dr. Namita Kotia has been practicing infertility treatment at Aastha Fertility Care since 2010, and during this time, she has helped around 2000+ couples become parents through IVF treatment and also other assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods like ICSI, IUI, GIFT, etc. Dr. Namita provides her patients with the best possible care and treatment options.
Aastha fertility care identifies the correct cause of infertility in men and women in the initial workup. This increase the success rate of IVF and IUI in the first cycle itself, thus saving the cost of infertility treatment.
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The initial workup includes a medical history and physical examination.
For Female Partner: tests will focus on ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, and structural
Male factor: medical history and physical examination, Semen Analysis, Scrotal Sonography [TRUS].
Table of Contents
Infertility in Men and Women
Infertility is defined as failure to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of unprotected intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination in women younger than 35 years. One in every eight couples has infertility, a medical condition characterized by the inability to conceive even after regular unprotected intercourse.
Earlier, we believed that women only contribute to infertility cases. Breaking the myths, infertility is not always a woman’s problem. It can be due to medical or reproductive causes of infertility in both males and females. Studies have proven that-
- 32% of cases of infertility are due to a male partner’s problems,
- 32% due to female partner’s concerns,
- 17% due to combined male and female issues,
- And the rest, 19%, due to unexplained reasons.
Infertility issues are common but fortunately curable. Don’t blame yourself for any unfortunate event; instead, take control of your life and take the right step. We further highlight the common reasons that may impede your chances of getting pregnant. Our infertility specialist rules out the causes influencing pregnancy success.
What are the leading causes of Infertility in Females?
Conception is complicated in women, and there are a whole lot of factors that can lead to female infertility. Some of the most common causes include-
- Fallopian Tube Damage:
According to the National Infertility Association, the fallopian tube accounts for more than 20% of female infertility cases. If the fallopian tubes are blocked or scarred, it is difficult for the sperm to travel to its destination. Blocked fallopian tubes also make it difficult for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus to develop into a foetus.
There are multiple reasons for fallopian tube damage, including a prior ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease. Therefore, a history of pelvic pain or painful periods are common signs of fallopian tube damage.
- Maternal Age:
Maternal age is also one of the primary reasons for increasing infertility cases. Women’s reproductive organs’ capability to produce eggs depletes over time, and more than 20% of females’ fertility potential is lost during their 35-40 years of age.
Endometriosis refers to the growth of the endometrium outside the uterus. The reasons for endometriosis are still unknown, but experts have mentioned that this can happen during menstruation. During this period, a small amount of the endometrial tissue may enter the abdominal tissue via fallopian tubes, attaching itself to organs and further leading to adhesions.
Endometriosis can build scar tissues outside or between the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, affecting the transfer of eggs to the fallopian lines. It can also lead to the build-up of endometrial cysts in the ovaries, further preventing the release of eggs.
- Disturbance in Oocyte Maturation:
Elevated or increased levels of male hormones can lead to ovarian cysts, restricting the chances of conception. Other factors that might lead to hormonal imbalance are overweight or underweight, sudden weight gain or loss, thyroid disorders, stress, and medications.
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome):
More than 9% of total women’s infertility cases are due to PCOS. It causes hormonal imbalance in the body that triggers excess testosterone production, affecting the ovulation process. Women experiencing PCOS might suffer from weight gain, excess facial hair, and acne while missing their regular period dates.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to pelvic infections, further interfering with the conception chances and process. Both these STD diseases are treatable with antibiotics and can be cured.
- Uterus Problems:
Sometimes, there’s a possibility that an egg cannot attach itself to the uterine wall and won’t be able to develop into a fetus. Uterus issues can be due to polyps and fibroids, affecting the tissue growth in the wall of the uterus. Uterus problems can also occur due to the scar tissues in the uterus from miscarriage, infection, and abortion. Unexplained and sudden lower abdominal bloating or pain are the symptoms of uterine problems. If you have a bulky uterus, you can get rid of it bulky uterus with these simple steps.
- Other Female Infertility Causes:
The other causes that might affect female infertility include medications, alcohol consumption, autoimmune disorders, environmental hazards, uterine fibroids, kidney disease, cancer, and its treatment.
Common Causes of Infertility in Males:
Most reasons for male infertility are related to sperm health and motility, making it difficult for the semen fluid to reach and fertilize the eggs. Common reasons for male infertility issues are:
Sperm Production Problems:
As already mentioned, male infertility is mainly due to the sperm’s inability to fertilize the egg. Sperm needs to ejaculate from the penis to reach the egg, but sometimes, the blockage may hinder the process. Causes for this inability include blockage in testicles, retrograde ejaculation, or sexual problems. Diabetes, bladder issues, prostate issues, and other diseases are likely to affect sperm production.
Sperm Motility Issues:
Most male infertility issues account for sperm motility. The average sperm count in ejaculation is around 20 million, and men with less than 10 million sperm per millimeter are diagnosed with oligospermia (referring to low sperm count) or azoospermia (referring to low sperm production). It just takes one sperm to fertilize the egg, but the chances of sperm cells penetrating and reaching the egg are rare.
Alcohol Consumption and Smoking:
Consumption of alcohol and smoking patterns adversely affect male fertility, reducing sperm count or semen quality. Moderate drinking may not affect much, but consuming alcohol daily may harm the liver and other organs, lowering testosterone levels while making men less fertile. It is also likely to shrink testicles, slowing sperm motility and causing an erection difficult.
Other Male Infertility Causes:
Other possible causes that can affect infertility are marijuana and other drugs, obesity, heat exposure, medical conditions, STDs, and toxic substances. Make sure to regularly get your sperm motility checked to know which of the above-listed factors affects your fertility.
Apart from majorly affecting the chances of getting pregnant, causes of infertility in males and females can also negatively affect mental and emotional health. If not addressed within time, infertility may pose a relationship challenge and strain your finances.
But being diagnosed with infertility does not mean you can never have your baby. Advancements in medical science and technologies have invented affordable and effective ART and other infertility treatments that will eventually increase your chances of having a child. All you need is a positive attitude and ideal medical assistance. Consult fertility experts at Aastha Fertility Center now to get the best assistance, helping their patients throughout the fertility treatment for a positive outcome.