By Rebecca Davis Even after years of infertility treatments, Monica and Steve Klein couldn't get pregnant. And while they were busy trying to create a new family, they forgot about the one they already had--with each other. Our relationship expert helps this couple find their way back to the intimacy they once shared.
When Monica and Steve Klein married in the summer of 2003, they immediately started trying to have a baby. But the Deer Park, NY, couple wasn't able to conceive, so their doctor suggested...
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 (implantation).
Infertility can result from problems that interfere with any of these steps.
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 include:
Environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead