What Are The Common Causes of Infertility?

Causes of Infertility

Pregnancy is the result of a process that has many steps. To get pregnant:

  • A woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
  • The egg must go through the fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb).
  • A man’s sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way.
  • The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation).

Infertility can happen if there are problems with any of these steps.

What are the common causes of infertility?

A cause of infertility is not identified in 30% of couples. Of the 70% of cases where the cause is identified, in 27% of couples the cause is attributed to ovulatory disorders; in 14% of couples, the cause is tubal damage. A low sperm count or quality is thought to contribute to infertility in 19% of couples. In approximately 40% of cases, the problem is contributed by both the man and the woman.

Hence, it is vitally important to investigate both partners in cases of infertility.

Do smoking and alcohol adversely affect fertility?

Yes! Smoking reduces female fertility and also affects sperm quality, hence both partners should ideally aim to stop smoking prior to attempting to get pregnant. Similarly, excessive alcohol is detrimental to sperm quality. Women who are trying to become pregnant should be advised that drinking no more than one or two units of alcohol once or twice per week and avoiding episodes of intoxication reduces the risk of harming a developing fetus.