Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Is infertility just a woman's problem?

No, infertility is not always a woman's problem. In only about one-third of cases is infertility due to the woman (female factors). In another one third of cases, infertility is due to the man (male factors). The remaining cases are caused by a mixture of male and female factors or by unknown factors.

What causes infertility in men?

Infertility in men is most often caused by:
problems making sperm -- producing too few sperm or none at all
problems with the sperm's ability to reach the egg and fertilize it -- abnormal sperm shape or structure prevent it from moving correctly

Sometimes a man is born with the problems that affect his sperm. Other times problems start later in life due to illness or injury. For example, cystic fibrosis often causes infertility in men.

What increases a man's risk of infertility?

The number and quality of a man's sperm can be affected by his overall health and lifestyle. Some things that may reduce sperm number and/or quality include:
environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead
smoking cigarettes
health problems
radiation treatment and
chemotherapy for cancer

What causes infertility in women?

Problems with ovulation account for most cases of infertility in women. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods.

Less common causes of fertility problems in women include:

blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy
physical problems with the uterus
uterine fibroids

What things increase a woman's risk of infertility?

Many things can affect a woman's ability to have a baby. These include:
poor diet
athletic training
overweight or underweight
tobacco smoking
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
health problems that cause hormonal changes

How does age affect a woman's ability to have children?

More and more women are waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children. Actually, about 20 percent of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35. So age is an increasingly common cause of fertility problems. About one third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have fertility problems.
Aging decreases a woman's chances of having a baby in the following ways:
The ability of a woman's ovaries to release eggs ready for
fertilization declines with age.
The health of a woman's eggs declines with age.
As a woman ages she is more likely to have health problems that can interfere with fertility.
As a women ages, her risk of having a
miscarriage increases.

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