Some women want children, but either can not conceive or prevent miscarrying. This is known as infertility. Many couples have infertility problems. About a third of the time, it is a female problem. In another third of cases, it is the man with the fertility problem. For the remaining third, both partners have fertility problems or not found any cause.
The causes of infertility
Some common reasons for infertility in women include:
Women generally have some decrease in fertility from 30 years. And while many women in their 30s and 40s have no problems getting pregnant, fertility decreases especially after age 35. As a woman ages, the normal changes that occur in the ovaries and the eggs make it difficult to get pregnant. Although menstrual cycles remain normal in 30 and 40 years of a woman, the eggs ovulate each month are of poorer quality than those of its 20 years.
It is difficult to get pregnant when the eggs are poorer in quality. As the woman approaches menopause, the ovaries may not release an egg each month, which can also make it harder to get pregnant. Also, as an old woman and her eggs, she is more likely to spontaneous abortion and having a baby with genetic problems such as Down syndrome.
Some women have diseases or conditions that affect your hormone levels, which can cause infertility.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) rarely or never ovulate. Lack of ovulation is the most common cause of infertility in women.
With primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a woman’s ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. It is not the same as early menopause. Some women with POI get a period from time to time. But pregnancy is difficult for women with POI.
A condition called luteal phase defect (LPD) is a failure of the uterine lining to be fully prepared for pregnancy. This can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting or result in miscarriage.
The most common problems with the reproductive organs of women, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and can worsen with age and also affect fertility. These conditions may cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked, so the egg can not travel through the tubes into the uterus.
Certain lifestyle factors can also have a negative effect on a woman’s fertility. Examples include smoking, alcohol consumption, weighing much more or much less than ideal body weight, a lot of strenuous exercises, and having an eating disorder. Stress can also affect fertility.
Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. But as men age, they may start having problems with the shape and movement of sperm. They also have a slightly higher risk of genetic defects in sperm. Or they may not produce sperm or very few sperm. Lifestyle choices can also affect the quantity and quality of sperm of a man. Alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality. And researchers are studying whether environmental toxins such as pesticides and lead, may also be the cause of some cases of infertility. Men can also have health problems that affect their sexual and reproductive function. These may include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, surgery of the prostate gland, testis or serious injury or problem.
When to see your doctor
You should talk to your doctor about your fertility if:
- It is under 35 and has not been able to conceive after a year of frequent intercourse without birth control.
- You are 35 years or older and has not been able to conceive after six months of frequent sex without birth control.
- You believe you or your partner may have fertility problems in the future (even before you start trying to get pregnant).
- You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido.
- Fortunately, doctors are able to help many infertile couples will have babies.