Infertility for women and men can be an emotional and challenging experience in life.
No matter what might be the cause of your infertility, always know that infertility is never anyone’s fault. It could happen to anyone, and it’s more common than you may think.
You might be wondering, “What are the causes of infertility?” “Are there different causes of infertility in women than there are causes of infertility in men?”
This article was created to help shed light on the truth about common causes of infertility for women and men.
You can also contact a professional to learn more information about infertility and the causes of infertility. They can also connect you with an infertility counselor to help you find the right path to parenthood for you.
What are the Causes of Infertility?
Certain genetic, hormonal and environmental issues can result in infertility.. Infertility can affect both men and women in the following ways:
Causes of Infertility in Women:
Female infertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases, and infertility in women accounts for approximately one-third of all infertility cases.
The most common causes of infertility in women include:
- Pelvic adhesions: These are bands of scar tissue that bind organs that can form after pelvic infection, endometriosis, and even abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage: This is often caused by an inflammation of the fallopian tube.
- Ovulation disorders: These disorders affect the release of eggs from the ovaries, and can include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome and hyperprolactinemia.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: Also known as early menopause, this is when ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before a woman turns 40.
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities: These are abnormalities with the cervix, polyps in the uterus, or the shape of the uterus.
- Endometriosis: This occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus and can affect the function of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
- Cancer and cancer treatment: Certain cancers can often impair female fertility, as well as radiation and chemotherapy.
- And more
Causes of Infertility in Men:
Male infertility is the cause of infertility in about 30% of couples. In another 20% of cases, the problem is related to reproductive issues with both the male and the female.
This means that about 50% of infertility cases are in part caused by men. These causes include:
- Overexposure to certain environmental factors: Pesticides, certain chemicals, radiation, cigarette smoking, alcohol, and even frequent exposure to heat can affect fertility or raise body temperature that may affect sperm production.
- Abnormal sperm production: This can be caused by genetic defects, health problems, infections, and even varicocele, and all of these can affect the quality of sperm.
- Cancer and cancer treatments: Cancer and cancer treatments can impair sperm production, sometimes severely.
- Problems with sperm delivery: This can be from sexual problems like premature ejaculation, certain genetic diseases, or damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
- And more
How are Causes of Infertility Treated?
Women under the age of 35 who aren’t pregnant after one year of trying should seek help from a healthcare provider. If you are older than 35, you should seek help sooner, usually about six months after trying to conceive.
There are treatments for infertility for both women and men, as well as various treatment options for all genders:
Treatments for Causes of Infertility in Women
- Surgery: Surgery can open blocked fallopian tubes and remove polyps or other issues. Endometriosis may also require surgery, and doing so can double a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
- Medications: There are fertility drugs that change hormone levels to help stimulate ovulation.
Treatments for Causes of Infertility in Men
- Surgery: Some men may need surgery to open blockages in the tubes that store and carry sperm. There are certain types of surgery, like varicocele surgery, that can improve the health of sperm and odds of conception.
- Medications: There are medications that can raise testosterone and other hormone levels, as well as medications for health issues like erectile dysfunction.
Treatments for Causes of Infertility in All Genders
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI): For this process, a doctor uses a thin, long tube to insert sperm directly into the uterus.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): This type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves gathering eggs at the end of stimulation and placing them with sperm in a lab dish for fertilization. Once fertilization is complete, the doctor transfers the embryo into the uterus.
Are There Other Options?
If every infertility treatment available to you has been exhausted, that doesn’t mean your dreams of parenthood are over. This is another option for you, known as surrogacy.
Deciding to pursue surrogacy after other infertility treatments means putting all of your focus and determination into this new process. Surrogacy, although it may not be what you had envisioned, will give you the incredible experience of parenthood – and that is the gift that matters most.
However, not everyone feels ready to move on from infertility treatments to surrogacy immediately or even after months of consideration, and that’s OK. Everyone’s path is different, and it’s important that you decide what feels right for you and your partner.
The biggest challenge involved in making the switch from infertility treatments to surrogacy is the fact that you will not be able to carry your own child. People who choose to pursue surrogacy as an option to have children do so because their desire for children is greater than their ability to be pregnant, and we understand this is a difficult reality to grapple with.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this, and there are professionals who can help you and will support you every step of the way.
Choosing to switch to surrogacy from infertility treatments is not a decision anyone should expect you to make overnight. It’s understandable that you may have a lot of questions about surrogacy and everything it will involve.
Whether your questions are about the causes of infertility and what options are available to you or about surrogacy and how it works, a surrogacy professional can help you get the right information.
You can reach out to a surrogacy professional to get more information about surrogacy and how it might fit into your journey towards parenthood. Talking to a professional can get you helpful information, resources and a shoulder to lean on during a challenging time.