Infertility is a common problem that affects over 10% (6.1 million) of women in the United States. Having difficulty conceiving, however, is not only a woman’s problem—about one–third of infertility cases are the result of male fertility issues. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that of the men who sought help for infertility, 18.1% were diagnosed with a male-related fertility problem, such as varicocele.
Approximately 7.3 million women (ages 15-44) and over 3.3 million men have sought infertility services in the effort to start a family. Thankfully, advances in medical knowledge and technology have provided fertility treatments that can be tailored to each couple’s unique needs and circumstances. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-uterine insemination are two of the ways physicians can help couples realize their dreams of having a baby.
So, what are the causes of infertility? In men, problems with fertility are often associated with the health or number of sperm. There are a number of factors that can reduce sperm count and health, including:
- Drug use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Health problems, such as mumps, serious conditions (e.g. kidney disease), or hormone problems
- Certain medications
- Environmental toxins, such as lead or pesticides
- Radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer
In women, most cases of infertility are associated with problems of ovulation, or the release of the egg into the fallopian tube. Without ovulation, there is no egg available to be fertilized by sperm. The following conditions may affect a woman’s fertility:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disease of hormone imbalance
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a condition that prevents the ovaries from functioning normally
- Blocked fallopian tubes due to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy
- Uterine fibroids
- Other problems with the uterus
- Poor diet
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Being overweight or underweight
Are you looking to find answers about your issues with fertility? Consider scheduling a consultation with the specialists at Fertility Centers of Illinois. Our staff is dedicated to a supportive and personalized approach to fertility care. Call us at (877) 499-8730 today.