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Top 10 Common Causes of Infertility

Top 10 Common Causes of Infertility
Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain
February03/ 2017


Infertility is a common problem seen in both men and women. Infertility is a condition in which the couple is unable to conceive or carry a healthy pregnancy for a set period of time. There are many different factors that are responsible for infertility. Infertility can generally be treated with medication or assisted reproductive techniques.

Types of Infertility

Infertility is classified into two main categories:

  1. Primary infertility

Primary infertility is a term given to a condition in which the couple is unable to conceive after trying for a year or more after unprotected intercourse.

  1. Secondary infertility

Secondary infertility is a condition in which the couples who have had children in the past are unable to achieve another pregnancy.

Causes of Infertility

The common cause of male and female infertility includes the following:

  1. Ovulation problems

Ovulation is a common problem seen in women. Ovulation problem generally starts when your ovaries fail to release a mature egg. Ovulation problem is the common cause of infertility. It is mainly characterized by the symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding and lack of premenstrual symptoms.

  1. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a diseased condition that occurs when the tissues normally found in your uterus lining grows outside the uterus. The tissues mostly grow in the abdomen or pelvic region.

Endometriosis is characterized by the painful periods, unusual spotting and general pelvic pain that can result in infertility.

  1. Poor egg quality

Poor quality egg production can also lead to fertility problems. Naturally there will be a decline in the egg production after the age of 35. Poor quantity and quality of eggs can decrease the rate of pregnancy and having a baby even after the fertility treatments.

  1. PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome)

Hormonal imbalance generally results in development of cysts. The small follicles in your ovaries do not develop in to mature follicles and thus develop in the form of cysts in your ovaries leasing to PCOS. Irregular periods, obesity and excessive hair growth are the common symptoms associated with PCOS.

  1. Tubal factors

Tubal factors generally refer to the problems associated with the fallopian tubes. Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes do not allow the sperm to reach the eggs and thus prevents fertilization.

Tubal problems usually occur due to sexually transmitted diseases and pelvic inflammatory diseases. In few cases previous sterilization surgery also leads to tubal problems.

  1. Lower sperm count

Low sperm count is a common problem seen in men that can lead to fertility issues. 20 million sperm per ml is considered as a healthy sperm count. Low sperm count is due to many reasons like:

  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Poor diet
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Damage to the reproductive organs
  1. Poor Sperm health

Poor sperm health generally refers to the problems associated with sperm motility and morphology. Around 25 % of the infertility cases are due to poor sperm health. The cause of low sperm health and low sperm count are often the same. Poor quality of sperm can increase the risk of infertility.

  1. Anti-sperm antibodies

In few rare cases semen can cause an immune response. This condition is seen in both men and women. Antibodies are usually triggered during the immune response that leading to death of the sperm.

High levels of sperm antibodies in your body can make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg for fertilization. Anti-sperm antibodies can also damage the sperms that survive and able to cause pregnancy, which increases the risk of miscarriage.

  1. Vas Deferens Blockage

Vas deferens blockage is commonly called as epididymis blockage. Vas deferens is a tube that is responsible for transferring a fertile sperm.  Blockage is usually due to varicocele of the testicles and other sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

  1. Combination infertility

Combination infertility cases are rare when compared to the other infertility issues. Combination infertility is mainly due to the fertility issues that are diagnosed in both partners. Around 20-30% of the fertility issues are due to combination infertility.

When you get diagnosed with any fertility issue or you observe any symptoms associated with infertility, it is better to consult an infertility specialist for treatment. Infertility can be cured on early diagnosis with medication and treatments like IVF, IUI and ICSI.

Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain

Atefa Noorain, (Microbiologist) former Head of the Department of Life Sciences, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Sujatha Degree College for Women. She worked as an Associate Research Analyst at Thomson Reuters and an Associate Editor of two research journals. She has presented her research work in 3 International Conferences. She has written articles for national journals and international journals. She had been felicitated as a Young Speaker in the last conference. She has worked on Nanoparticles as a part of her research project and won the Best Scientist of the Day award.

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