Causes of Infertility


If you and your partner are struggling to have a baby for a long time without success, you may have fertility issues.Dr. Pamela Snook and her team of experts diagnose and treat infertility to help couples and women to grow their families. They offer a variety of detailed assessments and fertility treatments from ovulation-stimulating to in vitro fertilization in order to assist in conceiving.

What is infertility?

Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after trying for a year or more. Women who can get pregnant but leads to a miscarriage may also be infertile. Between 13-15% of couples experience thse infertility issues.

What are the causes of infertility in women?

Ovulation disorder. It affects the release of eggs from the ovaries. Ovulation disorders include hormonal conditions like polycystic syndrome. Hyperprolactinemia, a hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk, may also interfere with ovulation. Either too little or too much thyroid hormone can cause infertility or affect the menstrual cycle.

Cervical or uterine abnormalities. This includes abnormalities with polyps in the cervix or  uterus. Non-cancerous tumours in the uterine walls may cause infertility by stopping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Fallopian tube blockage or damage. Fallopian tube blockage is caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube. This can be caused by endometriosis, sexually transmitted diseases, or adhesion.

What are the causes of infertility in men?

Abnormal sperm production or function.  This happens due to genetic defects, undescended testicles, health problems such as diabetes, or infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV or mumps. Enlarged veins in the testes can also affect the quality of sperms.

Problems with delivery of sperm. This happens due to certain genetic diseases, such as a blockage in the testicles, sexual problems such as premature ejaculation, or injury or damage to the reproductive organs.

Overexposure to certain environmental factors. They include pesticides or other radiations and chemicals. Alcohol, cigarette smoking, marijuana, anabolic steroids, high blood pressure, depression, and taking medications to treat bacterial infections can affect fertility. Frequent exposure to heat, such as hot tubs, can raise body temperature and affect sperm production.

Damage related to cancer and its treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer can impair sperm production.

Risk factors

Many risk factors in both female and male infertility are the same. They include:

Age. Women’s fertility declines with age, mainly in the mid-’30s, and rapidly drops after the age of 37. Infertility in older women is caused by the low number and quality of eggs, and can also be caused by health problems that affect fertility. Men over 40 years old may be less fertile compared to younger men.

Being overweight. An inactive lifestyle and being overweight can increase the rate of infertility. In men, sperm count also may be affected by being overweight.

Tobacco use. Smoking marijuana or tobacco by either partner may reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. It also reduces the effectiveness of fertility treatment. Women who smoke get frequent miscarriages. Smoking also increases the risk of low sperm count and erectile dysfunction in men.

Being diagnosed with infertility doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think of having a child anymore. It may take some time, or you can seek treatment that is right for you and your partner. In very few cases, doctors can’t treat these infertility problems, and your doctor can suggest that you and your partner consider donor eggs, sperms, or adoption.

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