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What You Need to Know About InfertilityThere are several factors that can contribute to infertility, and you likely have many questions. Here are some answers to the ones we hear the most to help you take the first step towards treatment.
Is infertility just a woman’s problem?While fertility is often thought of as a woman's problem, it is important to recognize that both men and women can experience fertility issues equally. Additionally, there are a variety of factors that can impact fertility in both men and women, including age, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions.
What causes infertility in women?There are several factors that can cause infertility in women. One of the most common is irregular or abnormal ovulation, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of all female infertility problems. Another factor is body weight, with 12 percent of all infertility cases being under or over a weight range deemed optimal for fertility. The good news is that your fertility improves by attaining and maintaining a weight within that optimal range. Smoking is another significant factor, as up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking. Additionally, pregnant women who smoke are at higher risk for miscarriage. Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia can also cause infertility if left untreated; chlamydia alone causes about 4 to 5 million infections annually in the United States. It is important to note that these are only some of the causes that lead to infertility in women, and every individual has a unique circumstance to why they can’t conceive. Our physicians are skilled in diagnosing fertility problems and will help create a care plan to meet your individual needs.
What increases a woman’s risk of infertility?Many factors can increase a woman's risk of infertility. Here are the most common ones:
- Age is the most significant factor, as fertility naturally declines as women get older. Not only do you have fewer eggs as you age, but the quality also declines. At age 30, a woman typically has a 20% chance each month of conceiving naturally. By the age of 40, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant naturally is 5% each month.
- Smoking and excessive alcohol use can also have negative impacts on fertility, as they can damage the reproductive organs and disrupt hormonal balances.
- Being overweight or underweight can also contribute to infertility, as it can impact the body's ability to ovulate regularly.
- Additionally, high levels of stress can interfere with ovulation and menstrual cycles, making it more difficult to conceive.
What causes infertility in men?Approximately 40% of infertility cases are related to the male. Infertility in men can be caused by a variety of factors. One common cause is low sperm count or poor sperm quality, which can be due to genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, or environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals or radiation. Other potential causes of male infertility include physical blockages in the reproductive system, injury or damage to the testicles, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes or infections. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can also contribute to male infertility. Infertility can affect men and women almost equally, which is why a fertility evaluation should include both partners to determine the best treatment plan.
What increases a man’s risk of infertility?Like women, there are several factors that can increase the risk of fertility issues. The most common concerns include:
- One factor is body weight, as being overweight or obese can negatively impact sperm production and quality.
- Smoking is another significant factor, as it can damage sperm DNA and reduce sperm count and motility.
- Excessive alcohol and drug use, including marijuana, can also decrease sperm quality and quantity.
- Exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, lead, and other chemicals can also have detrimental effects on male fertility.
- Additionally, certain medical conditions such as diabetes or infections may increase the risk of infertility in men.