Infertility & Reproduction Overview

Overview: Infertility does not mean you can never have a child. Infertility means not getting pregnant after a year of regular, unprotected sex. If a woman is over the age of 35, infertility is defined by no pregnancy after six months of regular, unprotected sex.

Either a man, or woman, or both, may have fertility issues. The man, the woman, or both may have a fertility problem. In fact, in about 20% of infertile couples, both partners have fertility problems.

While infertility does not mean you can never have a child, many times infertility can lead to stress, guilt, and the feeling of crisis. It doesn’t have to be that way. One way to help is by seeing your doctor as soon as you are trying to get pregnant.

This way, we can help you explore your options, and identify any problems that may arise. With today’s science, there are many ways to help improve fertility, and increase your chance of having a healthy pregnancy.

Infertility in Women

The primary cause of infertility in women is not ovulating. This means that the woman ‘s eggs are not releasing from the ovary. This could be caused by several factors, with Polycysitic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) being the most common.

Fallopian tubes are also a common area for infertility problems. These tubes, which carry eggs to the uterus from the ovary, can be blocked by scar tissue. Sperm can also be slowed by cervical mucus, or blockages can occur within the tube. A healthy weight is also important.

Age is also an important factor in fertility. As women age, the chance of becoming pregnant decreases, especially after the age of 35. Having children past the age of 45 is rare.

Infertility in Men

For men, sperm is the most important factor for fertility. The total sperm count, sperm shape, and sperm mobility can all factors related to fertility.

Total sperm count is sometimes reduced temporarily from external factors like hot environments, or harm to the testes. Drinking alcohol, smoking, and age (past 40) can all also reduce sperm count.

Helping Prevent Infertility

Fertility can be impacted by a variety of genetic and lifestyle conditions. Some of these can be helped by your doctor. In the meantime, making smart choices about your health can help decrease your chance of infertility. This includes:

Maintaining a healthy weight, without overexerting. Too much strenuous exercise can alter a woman’s ovulation cycle. In addition, and being over or underweight can increase the risk of infertility through hormonal imbalance.

Avoid tobacco and marijuana, especially in men. Not only is it generally unhealthy, cigarettes are especially prone to reducing sperm count.

Avoid alcohol abuse. Too much alcohol can damage eggs or sperm.

Before becoming pregnant, limit your sex partners and use condoms to help reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs can cause infertility by damaging your reproductive system.

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