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Houston Fertility Journal

Top 10 Causes of Infertility

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 10, 2016 4:00:32 PM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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For couples all over the nation, conceiving a child is one of the greatest challenges they will ever face. No matter how much love and devotion they put into expanding their family, some people are continually facing a slew of legitimate medical reasons that make it difficult to overcome infertility.

Today’s technology means that there is a better chance than ever before of seeing your dreams come true, but a little bit of knowledge helps to light your way towards success. As you move along on your journey towards welcoming a little one of your own, here’s our rundown of some of the most common causes of infertility issues.

Causes of Infertility in Men

  • Sperm count and movement: One of the most common reasons that men are infertile is due to the number and movement of their sperm. A semen analysis will usually reveal if this is the case, though a slightly abnormal result doesn’t necessarily denote infertility. If this is affecting you, seek out ways to naturally boost your sperm count and motility.
  • Varicoceles: This term actually refers to a spectrum of conditions that all may contribute to abnormal sperm results. One such example is larger than normal veins that cause a man’s testicles to overheat or some other source of heat that has an adverse effect on the sperm. This may take a bit more effort to correct, depending on the details.
  • Existing medical conditions: Oftentimes, an existing medical condition will cause men to become infertile. These include trauma, infection or some other testicular problem, but may also include serious conditions like diabetes and cystic fibrosis. Moreover, diseases like cancer that require radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment can also play a role.
  • Lifestyle choices: Not all of the root causes behind male infertility tie to specific conditions. Some are as simple as lifestyle choices. Heavy alcohol use, smoking, drugs, and the usage of anabolic steroids are all among the chief reasons why a man’s sperm might not be performing at the top of their peak potential.
  • Environmental toxins: Sadly, certain aspects of the environment also contribute to infertility in men. Exposure to toxic substances like pesticides and lead can damage a man’s ability to create the powerful sperm needed to create life. Try and reduce or eliminate the amount of time or quantity you’re exposed to these harmful chemicals.

Causes of Infertility in Women

  • Ovulation: Since conception hinges on ovulation, it stands to reason that any irregularities within the ovaries’ natural function could disrupt the fertility of an otherwise healthy woman. Regular menstrual cycles are an essential part of this, and a simple ovulation kit and blood test, respectively, can predict or confirm the reality behind this.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): One specific ailment that could cause irregular ovulation is PCOS, the most common cause of female infertility. Caused by a hormonal imbalance, this disorder causes the ovaries to enlarge in size and develop small cysts on the outer edges. Treatment exists of medication to regulate menstruation.
  • Tubal patency: The fallopian tubes are an essential part of a woman’s reproductive system, and if they are open, blocked or swollen, it can drastically affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. An x-ray is needed to ascertain if this is the case, but risk factors include pelvic infection and a history of related infections and medical conditions.
  • Endometriosis: When tissue normally lining the interior of the uterus begins to grow on the outside, this quite painful disorder results. Endometriosis can affect a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvic tissue, and abnormal bands of tissue -- as well as oftentimes cysts -- can develop on the very organs responsible for conception.
  • Uterine contour: During healthy pregnancies, a woman’s uterus houses her unborn child as he or she prepares to enter the world. Symptoms may indicate that the physical form of the uterus may be compromised, making fertility a real issue. A transvaginal ultrasound, however, can determine the existence of fibroids or other abnormalities.

Cause and Detect

Though the amount of people still overcoming infertility remains staggering, at least recent years have brought greater understanding and stronger research into many of the root causes. The above list, of course, does not include all of the factors that may contribute to infertility, but it does serve as a guideline for some of the most likely culprits that will stand in the way of conception.

If you and your family are having difficulty getting pregnant, be sure to reach out to a physician to evaluate whether one of the above conditions may be to blame. With persistence and love, success is on the horizon.

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Topics: Infertility, Male Fertility Testing, Fertility Clinic

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