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Cause of Infertility

Fibroids, Endometriosis, or PID
Another cause of infertility may be health problems, in either the woman or the man. Common problems with a woman's reproductive organs, like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can worsen with age and also affect fertility. These conditions might cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked, so the egg can't travel through the tubes into the uterus.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Some people also have diseases or conditions that affect their hormone levels, which can cause infertility in women and impotence and infertility in men. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one such hormonal condition that affects many women and is the most common cause of anovulation (when a woman rarely or never ovulates).
Luteal Phase Defect
Another hormonal condition that is a common cause of infertility is when a woman has a luteal phase defect (LPD). A luteal phase is the time in the menstrual cycle between ovulation and the start of the next menstrual period. LPD is a failure of the uterine lining to be fully prepared for a fertilized egg to implant there. This happens either because a woman's body is not producing enough progesterone, or the uterine lining isn't responding to progesterone levels at some point in the menstrual cycle.
Since pregnancy depends on a fertilized egg implanting in the uterine lining, LPD can interfere with a woman getting pregnant and with carrying a pregnancy successfully.
Lifestyle Choices in Women
Certain lifestyle choices can also be a cause of infertility in women. These lifestyle choices can include: Age and Sperm Problems
Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. As men age, however, they might begin to have problems with the shape and movement of their sperm, and have a slightly higher risk of sperm gene defects. They also might produce no sperm, or too few sperm.
Lifestyle Choices in Men
Certain lifestyle choices can cause infertility, as they can affect the number and quality of a man's sperm. For example, alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality.
Environmental Toxins
Researchers are looking at whether environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead, may also be a cause of infertility in some cases.
Health Problems
Medical conditions that can cause infertility include:
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Diabetes.
  • Genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis).
  • Mumps virus after puberty.
  • Surgery on or infection in the prostate gland.
  • Severe testicle injury or problem.
  • Varicocele, which is a network of veins in the scrotum that are bluish, long, "worm-like," and enlarged. They can cause pain and discomfort, but seem to become smaller or disappear when the man lies down. Although these can be treated, they might damage the testes.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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