Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed when a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or when a woman has experienced multiple miscarriages and is under 35 years of age.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. One-third of infertility cases are due to male factors, and about one-third are due to female factors. In about 20% of cases, infertility is unexplained, and the remaining 10% of cases is due to a combination of problems in both partners.
There are various causes of infertility that can occur in both men and women.
What Causes Infertility in Women?
For three in 10 couples, the woman doesn’t produce enough eggs (ovulation). This may be a permanent problem for some women, but only a periodic problem for others. Causes of ovulation problems include:
- Early menopause: This is when menopause occurs before the age of 40.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS occurs when complex changes take place in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries, resulting in a hormone imbalance, which affects ovulation.
- Hormone imbalances: Imbalances such as an increase in the prolactin hormone or an increase or decrease in the thyroxine hormone may cause infertility.
- Medications: Certain medications and illegal drugs can decrease female fertility.
- Genetic disorders: Disorders such as inherited chromosome abnormalities or single-gene defects passed from parent to child can lead to infertility.