Infertility is an unfortunately common problem, affecting an estimated 1 in 5 couples between the ages of 15-49. In general, we consider infertility to be an inability to conceive a child after 12 months of trying, although if you’re over 35 and you haven’t had success after six months of trying, we arrive at the same conclusion.
Infertility has many causes, which may be due to female factors or male factors. But what about genetics? If your mother or sister had difficulty conceiving, will that mean you will, too? Dr. Edward J. Ramirez of The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF explains more about the causes of infertility and whether or not there’s a genetic link involved.
Infertility is often complicated. It requires several rounds of testing to determine the cause(s) of your particular case of infertility. However, infertility only refers to inability to conceive a child. Recurrent miscarriages or the inability to carry a child to term are usually caused by other factors.
Female factors for infertility account for about a third of all cases. The most common causes of female infertility include:
Your ovaries have to release an egg in order to conceive. Lack of ovulation is a common cause of infertility. One underlying reason for the lack of ovulation is polycystic ovary syndrome, which affects 1 in 10 women. This syndrome also includes irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, acne, and weight gain.
You can have structural problems of the uterus that may contribute to your inability to conceive. These problems may include uterine polyps, fibroids, endometriosis, an abnormally shaped uterus, or scarring in the uterus from previous surgeries or injuries.
If you have blocked fallopian tubes, you may not be able to conceive. Your fallopian tubes need to be clear so an egg may pass through them. You may or may not know if your fallopian tubes are blocked. Some women may feel pain on one side, while other women with conditions such as endometriosis have consistently heavy and painful periods.
Male factors are the cause of infertility in a third of cases. Some causes of male infertility include:
We can discover the cause of male infertility during a basic physical exam and semen analysis.
In a third of cases, the cause of infertility is not immediately apparent. You may wonder if your infertility is caused by heredity. In some cases, it might be; an estimated 10-15% of cases of infertility are caused by factors that are genetic in origin.
Some of these factors may include:
In addition to genetic factors, other factors may also impact your ability to conceive. These include the following:
If you’re having difficulty conceiving a child, you should make an appointment for a consultation. Call Dr. Ramirez at The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF at 831-649-4483 today, or request an appointment online.