- Infertility Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Infertility Quiz
- Infertility FAQs
- Patient Comments: Infertility - Cause
- Patient Comments: Infertility - Experiences
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
- Infertility facts
- What is infertility?
- Is infertility a common problem?
- Is infertility just a woman's problem?
- What causes infertility in men?
- What causes infertility in women?
- Ovarian function (presence or absence of ovulation and effects of ovarian "age")
- Tubal patency (fallopian tubes open, blocked, or swollen)
- Uterine contour (physical characteristics of the uterus)
- What things increase a woman's risk of infertility?
- How long should women try to get pregnant before calling their doctors?
- How will doctors find out if a woman and her partner have fertility problems?
- How do doctors treat infertility?
- What are some of the specific treatments for male infertility?
- What medicines are used to treat infertility in women?
- What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?
- What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
- What are the different types of assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
- Gestational Carrier
Quick GuideInfertility: Types, Treatments, and Costs
Is infertility a common problem?
Yes. About 6% of married women 15-44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex (infertility).
Also, about 12% of women 15-44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).
Is infertility just a woman's problem?
No, infertility is not always a woman's problem. Both men and women contribute to infertility.
Many couples struggle with infertility and seek help to become pregnant; however, it is often thought of as only a women's condition. A CDC study analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime - this equals 3.3-4.7 million men. Of men who sought help, 18% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems (14%) and varicocele (6%).
What causes infertility in men?
Infertility in men can be caused by different factors and is typically evaluated by a semen analysis. A specialist will evaluate the number of sperm (concentration), motility (movement), and morphology (shape). A slightly abnormal semen analysis does not mean that a man is necessarily infertile. Instead, a semen analysis helps determine if and how male factors are contributing to infertility.
Conditions that can contribute to abnormal semen analyses include -
- Varicoceles, a condition in which the veins on a man's testicles are large and cause them to overheat. The heat may affect the number or shape of the sperm.
- Medical conditions or exposures such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, trauma, infection, testicular failure, or treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.
- Unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol use, testosterone supplementation, smoking, anabolic steroid use, and illicit drug use.
- Environmental toxins including exposure to pesticides and lead.