Every family has that one kindly aunt and uncle who "never had any
children." And, until you yourself have struggled with infertility, you probably never
wondered why they had no children; you just accepted it. Well, if that aunt and
uncle of yours are now seniors, in their day they could have adopted from a
wide assortment of newborns. But they didn't. Today, they probably live
comfortably in a small condo somewhere, travel a great deal, are enjoying their
retirement, and dote on a large selection...
A woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
The egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb).
A man's sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way.
The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus
Infertility can result from problems that interfere with any of these
Is infertility a common problem?
About 12% of women (7.3 million) in the United States aged 15-44 had
difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term in 2002, according to
the National Center for Health Statistics.
Is infertility just a woman's problem?
No, infertility is not always a woman's problem. In about one-third of
cases, infertility is due to the woman (female factors). In another 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
Environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead