Why Can’t I Get Pregnant? The Most Common Reasons for Infertility

No Baby Yet..

Statistics show that approximately 40 percent of infertility cases are caused by a male factor, 40 percent are due to female factors, and for the remaining 20 percent, the diagnosis is unexplained infertility.

Male Factor

Male factor infertility basically means that there is an issue with the sperm of the male partner.  Either the amount or quality of sperm being produced is inadequate to result in a pregnancy.  If the sperm cells don’t move properly or are irregularly shaped, the diagnosis would still be male factor infertility, even if the actual sperm count is normal.

Azospermia is the technical term for the complete lack of sperm production, while oligospermia means the production of too few sperm cells.  There are many different conditions that can cause azospermia or oligospermia.

  • Hormonal disorders or abnormal levels of certain hormones like thyroid hormones, prolactin, testosterone or FSH (follicle stimulating hormone – yes, this hormone is produced by men too) can lower sperm production.
  • Though rare, certain genetic diseases can cause azospermia.
  • Varicoceles are, essentially, varicose veins found in the testes.  If present, blood flow is restricted to and from the testes.  This results in swelling and abnormal temperatures, killing or damaging the sperm cells.  They account for approximately forty percent of male factor infertility.
  • Environmental factors can affect sperm production and quality.  Certain drugs, both legal and otherwise, can decrease sperm count, as can excessive alcohol consumption or exposure to radiation or certain infections.

Female Factor

There are a multitude of factors that can cause female infertility.  Essentially, any condition that prevents ovulation (the release of a mature egg from the ovary), fertilization of the egg by a sperm cell, or implantation of the fertilized embryo into the uterine wall can cause infertility.

  • Ovulatory disorders like PCOS, hypothalamic amenorrhea or ovarian failure can all impact the ovary’s ability to develop or release a mature egg.
  • Structural abnormalities can prevent sperm cells from meeting the egg or keep the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.  Examples of structural abnormalities include blockages of the fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, absent reproductive structures and endometriosis.
  • Certain genetic disorders can prevent a woman from ovulating or even make her sterile.
  • Hormonal abnormalities, like thyroid disease and hyperprolactinemia, can also impact a woman’s menstrual cycle and ability to ovulate.

Unexplained Infertility

Basically, unexplained infertility means that the doctor can’t figure out what is causing your infertility.  This is, perhaps, one of the most frustrating diagnoses, as for many couples, not having a definitive reason for their infertility or specific treatment goal can be excruciating.

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