What Can Cause Infertility?


There are so many possible causes of infertility in today’s modern world that there is really only one way to know what could be the cause of your specific and unique infertility challenge: a consultation with a fertility specialist with extensive experience, expertise and access to advanced technology.

In this article we will look at what exactly infertility is, some of the many possible causes and how to consult with a fertility specialist to determine the exact cause of your specific fertility challenge – and the treatment options that exists to address it.

What is infertility?

Infertility does not mean you cannot have a child. It simply means you require assistance in conceiving, because you have been having unprotected sex for more than 12 months or more than six months if you are over 35, and have not fallen pregnant.

There are so many causes why you are not falling pregnant.

What could cause infertility in a couple?

Even for couples without infertility, conception is not guaranteed: the chances of conception are about 25% each month in women under 35 years of age.

In addition, infertility affects one in six couples of reproductive age. So, if you have not yet conceived, you are certainly not alone. Hundreds of thousands of couples around the world face fertility challenges.

Fertility requires healthy sperm and healthy eggs. If a couple has healthy sperm and healthy eggs, their chances of conceiving are that much higher.

Among the many possible causes of infertility, certain lifestyle choices and stress feature strongly, because they negatively affect your overall health, and, therefore, your fertility as well.

The number of couples experiencing fertility problems is increasing exponentially and this is directly related to certain lifestyle choices, such as stress, poor dietary habits and poor nutrition, smoking and excessive alcohol use.

There is also a long list of possible medical causes of infertility and a wide range of specialised medications and treatments for these conditions.

About one-third of infertility cases are due to the female partner; one-third are due to the male partner; and the remaining one-third are due to a combination of male and female factor issues. Furthermore, in 25% of couples, there is also more than one factor contributing to infertility.

What could cause infertility in a woman?

Just among the common causes of female infertility are: Abnormal Thyroid, Cervical Factor, Diminished Ovarian Reserve, Endometriosis, Hyperprolactinaemia, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Stress, Uterine Factor, Advanced Maternal Age, Anovulation, Tubal Occlusion and Blocked Fallopian Tubes.

Anovulation is a cause of infertility in approximately 30% of fertility patients. Normal ovulation occurs monthly from alternating ovaries. Anovulation is the failure of the ovary to release an egg (oocyte) over a period of time generally exceeding 3 months. Usually, women with anovulation will have irregular periods or they may not get their cycles at all. If your cycles are shorter than 21 days, or longer than 36 days, it could be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction.

Tubal disease or blocked fallopian tubes is a blockage of or damage to one or both of the fallopian tubes. This can cause infertility as these tubes are the “roadway” for the sperm to find and fertilise the egg. Thin and delicate, these tubes can be damaged and blocked due to a variety of reasons.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a condition where eggs mature in the ovaries but are not released into the fallopian tubes – instead they remain in the ovaries and develop into cysts. This makes it impossible to successfully achieve a pregnancy.

Endometriosis is a common and sometimes painful condition of the reproductive system which can affect up to one in ten women. Roughly 30% of women with infertility problems have endometriosis. It occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows in other parts of your body where it does not belong, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or outside surface of the uterus. Endometrial tissue may lead to an inflammatory reaction which has been shown to affect the reproductive process.

What can cause infertility in men?

Most causes of male infertility are usually related to sperm disorders – in fact, damage to sperm production affects two thirds of men who are experiencing fertility challenges.

Male infertility may also be caused by the testes themselves, the ducts that lead out from the testes, a functional problem in relation to sexual activity, hormonal issues or genetic problems.

Fertility is adversely affected if sperm are not being produced in adequate numbers, or are obstructed from reaching the penis, or are not swimming well, or if they are being attacked by antibodies from either the male himself or his female partner. There could also be an imbalance of hormones that allow sperm development and support.

One of the most common causes of infertility in men is damage to the production of sperm resulting in a low sperm count (oligospermia). This can also be associated with reduced sperm movement and abnormally shaped sperm. A severe case of this results in azoospermia, which means the total absence of sperm in the ejaculate. Common causes of damage to sperm production are testicular injury, undescended testes, a twisted testes, cancer treatments, varicocele and genetic problems.

How to determine the exact cause of your specific fertility challenge

Given these many possible causes of infertility in a couple, in the male partner and in the female partner, which are by no means exhaustive, there is really only one way to know what could be the cause of your specific and unique infertility challenge: a consultation with a fertility specialist with extensive experience, expertise and access to advanced technology.

For example, the exact cause of a sperm disorder can usually only be determined medically – erections, intercourse and ejaculation will usually happen normally and the quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally seem normal to the naked eye.

It is also important to realise that while there are many causes of infertility, there are also many advanced infertility treatments ranging from medications to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) – including for example in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – are achieving unprecedented success.

To determine the exact cause of your fertility challenge, and the treatments that are available, you need a 30 – 60 minute initial Skype or Zoom consultation with one of Medfem’s highly qualified and experienced fertility specialists.

During the virtual consultation, your fertility specialist will review your medical history, provide in-depth explanations and answers to all your questions, detail a broad range of infertility treatment options, develop with you a personalised fertility treatment plan and schedule further scans and tests.

Simply click here or contact us on +27 (11) 463 2244 to book your initial Skype or Zoom consultation and take your first step to parenthood.
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