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Cause of Infertility

Many couples experience infertility problems when trying to conceive. In fact, 1 in 8 couples have difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after having regular unprotected sex for at least 12 months.

Infertility can affect both men and women. In some instances, the cause of infertility is a combination of factors that interfere with conception. Genetic factors, overexposure to certain toxins or chemicals, age, and problems with egg or sperm production can all contribute to infertility. In some instances, structural issues like fallopian tube damage or benign growths are to blame.

Fortunately, today are a number of fertility treatments and reproductive technologies that can significantly improve your odds of conceiving.

Symptoms of Infertility

The primary symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. In many cases, there are no other symptoms. Occasionally, infertility can cause irregular or absent menstrual periods in women. In rare cases, infertile men may experience hormonal symptoms, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function. With or without treatment, 85 percent of couples trying to conceive will get pregnant within one year.

When to See a Doctor

Unless you have been actively trying to conceive for at least one year without success, you probably don’t need to see a doctor about infertility. However, you may want to speak with your doctor earlier if you are a woman and:

  • You are between the ages of 35 and 40 and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer
  • You are over age 40
  • Your periods are irregular or absent
  • Your periods are very painful
  • You have been diagnosed with endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or have known fertility problems
  • You have suffered multiple miscarriages
  • You have been treated for any type of cancer

Speak with a doctor if you’re a man and:

  • You have a low sperm count or have other problems with sperm
  • You have family members with infertility problems
  • You have testicles that are small in size or have swelling in the scrotum (varicocele)
  • You have a history of prostate, testicular, or sexual problems
  • You have been treated for any type of cancer
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