Top Infertility Issues That Cause Problems Getting Pregnant

Infertility issues are not something you can lump into one group as a single problem. It is more like an umbrella with a variety of conditions and fertility problems falling underneath. This is why the solutions for infertility vary from one person to another. Following are just fifteen of the more common problems that can cause infertility and problems getting pregnant.

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS interferes with the hormones of sufferers. The hormones controlling the reproductive system can be attacked, which leads the body to stop ovulating altogether. Without ovulation, there is no chance of getting pregnant. Some women with PCOS do ovulate sometimes, but it is so irregular that pregnancy is more difficult to achieve.

fertility issues2. Natural Aging Process

It is completely normal for men and women to become less fertile as they grow older. This happens faster for women than men, with many women having more trouble getting pregnant once they pass the age of thirty-five. The good news is this is the easiest infertility problem to overcome if there are no larger issues involved.

3. Endometriosis

Endometriosis can cause pelvic scarring or adhesions which make women infertile. Problems with the fallopian tubes may also develop.

4. Low Sperm Count

This is an infertility issue for men. There are many things that can cause low sperm count and some are easier to fix than others. There are procedures where samples of sperm can be combined to produce semen samples with very high sperm counts. That sample can be used to inseminate a woman successfully.

5. Low Sperm Motility

This is a problem where sperm are basically lazy and do not do their job swimming up the fallopian tubes to penetrate the egg. If few sperm are moving as they should, there is little chance of pregnancy each month.

6. Undescended Testicles

This is a medical problem that can affect sperm count and sperm motility. It is the cause of infertility for many men.

7. Testicle Blockage

Part of the testicle is blocked, and that prevents sperm from actually being released into the female body. If sperm doesn’t make it to the egg, there is no way for a conception to take place.

8. Obesity

Many obese people struggle to have babies for years, only to succeed after they lose a lot of their weight. Conception is simply harder to achieve when a lot of excess fat is stored on the body.

9. Intense Heat Exposure

When the male body is exposed to things that raise body temperature too high, sperm count and motility can suffer. Often, just wearing looser underwear, avoiding activities that raise body temperatures, and staying away from the sauna can help.

10.  Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy

Many cancer patients end up infertile after going through the aggressive treatments required to beat the disease. This is why so many people freeze their eggs or sperm before going through these treatments.

11. Damaged Fallopian Tubes

Fallopian tubes are often damaged by untreated sexual diseases or inflammation in the tubes. The tubes are damaged or blocked, preventing sperm from making it to the egg for conception.

12. Eating Disorders

Extreme eating disorders like anorexia can stop the ovulation process, making it impossible for pregnancy to occur. Recovery from the illness can start the menstrual cycle again, reversing the infertility.

13. High Prolactin Levels

This is a hormone known for stimulating the production of milk in the breasts of pregnant women. If this hormone is too high in a non-pregnant woman, it can cause a stop in ovulation.

14. Fibroids and Adhesions

Any type of fibroid (tumor) or adhesion in the woman’s reproductive organs can prevent sperm and eggs from meeting up in a way that results in pregnancy.

15. Unknown Reasons

This isn’t exactly a fertility problem, but it is the only answer for many men and women. The cause of the infertility is simply unknown.

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Symptoms and Signs of Infertility

The symptoms and signs of infertility may not be noticed right away, but there are some signs to look for that may affect your ability to get pregnant.

The facts are that there are a large number of women of childbearing age who suffer from some sort of infertility. Many women show symptoms of infertility and other women do not know there is a problem until they start trying to conceive. With the many different types of infertility, the signs and symptoms range from woman to woman and affects the relationship with their partner.

It is a good plan when a couple starts trying to conceive to set a time limit. Give it three or six months or even a year. If pregnancy has not been achieved at the end of that time, a visit to the doctor is merited. Actively trying means that the couple is having unprotected sex at least three times a week all month.

Signs of Infertility

negative pregnacy testAn appointment should be made with their primary care physician or if they see an OBGYN for yearly visits, make the appointment with them. Once seen the doctor may refer to a fertility specialist if they suspect infertility. The biggest sign of infertility is an irregular menstrual cycle.  However an irregular cycle doesn’t always mean infertility.

Other signs of infertility can be weight issues, being over or under weight isn’t healthy and can affect the reproductive cycle. Weight issues cause nutritional problems and hormone imbalances that can result in infertility.

Substance and alcohol abuse can also lead to symptoms of infertility. Although these are causes of infertility rather then signs of infertility because they can make a woman unable to conceive. Frequent use of drugs (illegal) will harm the body and affect the way the body functions. Abusing these drugs can cause infertility or the inability to carry a healthy baby to term.

Men can have infertility too. Anatomic or physical problems may be signs of infertility in men. Testicles that haven’t ascended won’t function correctly. Outside factors can also cause male factor infertility. Wearing clothing that is too tight or exposure to too much heat from the sun or in hot tubs are very unhealthy towards the ability to product sperm.

Some of the signs of infertility in women and men are the same. Both men and women can have an inability to produce offspring through weight problems like obesity or due to substance abuse. Just as a woman may can become pregnant but may not can carry a pregnancy, the man’s body can also malfunction and they may not produce enough sperm for conception to happen.

Timing is Everything

It’s important when trying to conceive that the couple does everything possible to insure the best chances of conception actually happening. Timing is everything, so making sure that sexual intercourse is had several days prior and leading up to that day is very important. There are several ways to track the ovulation cycle. Ovulation predictor kits can be purchased from most discount stores and pharmacies. Charting the fertility signs is an excellent way to find out if ovulation is happening and even nailing the exact day it happens.

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Infertility Statistics

Infertility statistics tell a very different story than what you may think.  Infertile couples often feel isolated, especially if their family and friends are having babies with no problems. They feel that they are the only ones struggling with fertility issues. Truth is it’s a common occurrence and they aren’t alone in this battle by any means.

Statistics show that there are around 7.3 million women in the USA of child-bearing age who suffer from some type of infertility. Many discover this when they start trying to conceive. Some infertility is even discovered after the first baby has been born. Many couples have to seek infertility treatments. This isn’t something that is talked about. A lot of couples will keep quiet about their struggles to start a family. In 2002 11.9% or 7.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age have received some sort of infertility services.

Here are some infertility statistics:infertility statistics

  • 1.1% have to use artificial insemination (ivf) or intra-uterine insemination
  • 3.8% of women have received ovulation drugs
  • 4.8% will have to have some sort of fertility testing
  • 5.5% will have to seek measures to help prevent miscarriage
  • 6.1% have to seek professional counseling about infertility
  • 11.8% of women will not only have trouble conceiving, but problems carrying a baby to term. This is known as impaired fecundity.

Older child-bearing age women have more difficulty conceiving than younger women. It is because by then the loss of eggs is greater. Some 15.2% of women are aged 35-39 who have to seek infertility treatments.

Statistics show that childless women who have received any infertility service between the ages of 30 and 34 years of ages was 17.3% and women between the ages of 15 and 29 was only 2.9%. The percent of married childless women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age are infertile by these ages. 27.4% of women are infertile by the ages of 40 and 44. 22.6% of women are infertile by 35 and 39 years of age. 16.9% of women are infertile by the ages of 30 and 34. And 11% of married women are infertile by the ages of 15 and 29. With todays medical advances in the area of human reproduction these statics do not have to end without children.

Statistics are showing now that by age 31 some 38% of women seeking infertility treatments were able to conceive and carry a baby to term. By age 39, the percentage of live births was around 22%. As a woman ages the percentage declines, after age 43 the percentage of conceiving and carrying a baby to term drops to below 10%. Women have also used an egg donor. The use of donor eggs after age 40 increased to a success rate of 45%. This soars above the success rate of women in their early 30′s who use their own eggs.

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Infertility Levels: What is Normal?

Often infertility is diagnosed on a woman when the blood is tested and the reproductive hormones will appear at what’s considered infertility levels.

Below are the main female reproductive hormones and their normal levels. Levels that are higher or lower are considered to be deficient.

Normal Fertility Levels

infertility test resultsDay one is the first day of menstrual bleeding.

Estradiol (E2) – also called estrogen – “normal” levels at day three should be 25-75 pg/ml, at days 4/5 should be at 100+ pg/ml and at the day of surge (the day the mature follicle pops out an egg) should be at 200+ pg/ml.

Follicle stimulating hormone or FSH should be at 3-20 mIU/ml at day three.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) day three less than 7 mIU/ml and at surge greater than 20 mIU/ml.

Progesterone (P4) less than 1.5 ng/ml on day three and should rise up to greater than 15 ng/ml at 7 days post ovulation.

Prolactin at day three less than 24 ng/ml.

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) at day three 18-114 mnol/l.

Infertility Levels May Be Anything Outside the Normal Range

These are normal ranges – and readings that appear above or below could be indicative of possible infertility.

There are a panel of other hormones that can be tested, if infertility is suspected and these levels rule out any indications, more blood tests can be run to determine the root of the problem. Often an imbalance of hormones can throw the entire endocrine system off with infertility being one of the many signs.

Unbalanced hormones are fairly easy to bring back into balance with medications and careful observation of a physician. Even diet and environment can play a role in helping to balance the body’s reproductive system.

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Infertility Definition: Are You Infertile?

Infertility definition means being sterile. Sterile means the inability to become pregnant and produce offspring. There are varying degrees of infertility from minor to major.

The good news is that being defined as infertile doesn’t mean it’s always the case. A lot of infertility can be successfully treated with the end result being a healthy pregnancy and a brand new bouncing baby boy or girl.

Minor or secondary infertility normally has to do with an imbalance of hormones. Often finding the root cause of this imbalance and correcting it with medications or natural supplements will result in a positive pregnancy. Examples of these are thyroid dysfunction, which can be treated by taking hormones to balance the thyroid. Progesterone deficiencies can be easily remedied with either prescription progesterone or natural progesterone in the form of a transdermal cream.

Major infertility can stem from health conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis. These conditions can be treated successfully the majority of the time, but require more invasive treatments. Invasive treatments such as IVF (in-vitro fertilization) or ART (assisted reproductive therapy). These treatments involve a longer treatment period and cost quite a bit more than treating for minor infertility. Most insurance companies will cover infertility treatments for a specified amount of dollars and or a specified time period.

Infertility can also be inherited, if your mother had problems, you may too. If your sister has problems like PCOS, this tends to run in families.

Being infertile these days doesn’t always mean it’s a lifetime sentence. With today’s medical advances and treatments, combating infertility has become easier and more successful than in years past.


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