What are Common Causes of Infertility?

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  • Written By: S. Ashraf
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2018
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Infertility problems can be traced to difficulties involving either one or both partners. Common causes of infertility might be strictly physical or can involve issues in general health and lifestyle. For men, the most common causes of infertility are problems with an impaired sperm count, issues in sperm mobility or difficultly in the sperm fertilizing the egg. The most common causes of infertility in women are problems with the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, endometriosis or benign fibroid tumors in the uterus. For both sexes, health and lifestyle issues that are common causes of infertility are stress, age and obesity.

It is estimated that in approximately 20 percent of the cases, a couple’s infertility is because of the male. A low sperm count is considered a main cause of male infertility. The shape and mobility of the sperm affects its ability to reach, penetrate and fertilize the egg. Improperly shaped sperm as well as sperm whose movement is impaired also are common causes of infertility.

About 30 to 40 percent of infertility cases are from causes involving both partners, and the remaining 40 to 50 percent can be attributed to the female alone. Blockage or damage to the fallopian tubes is a common cause of female infertility. Fallopian tubes might be damaged by inflammation caused by sexually transmitted diseases. This inflammation can affect a fertilized egg’s ability to implant in the uterus.


Endometriosis, a condition that involves uterine tissue growing in the abdomen, also leads to inflammation or scarring and commonly causes female infertility. In addition, problems with the ovulation cycle caused by ovarian hormones are a common cause of infertility in women. Hormonal irregularities can stop or disrupt the ovaries from releasing eggs. Lastly, benign fibroid tumors of the uterus frequently happen in women who are in their 30s or 40s. Even though they are benign, they can interfere with a fertilized egg implanting in the uterus and are one of the common causes of infertility.

The fertility of both sexes is affected by similar health and lifestyle issues. Emotional stress can interfere with both the production of sperm and the timing of ovulation. Being overweight affects the fertility of both men and women, as does being very underweight. As men and women grow older, their fertility lessens as both sperm and eggs age.

Many fertility problems can be treated. Couples experiencing infertility might consider consulting a specialist. It generally is recommended that couples try to conceive for a year before seeing a doctor about the problem.



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