A diagnosis of infertility is made when a man and woman have unprotected intercourse for one year without conceiving or for six months if the woman is over 35. The cause of this lack of conception can be due a problem affecting either or both partners. Both men and women suffer from infertility equally.

Infertility is not the same as sterility, which is an inability to have children. While 15% of couples in the United States are infertile, only 1-2% are sterile. Up to 50% of couples seeking medical help for infertility go on to become pregnant.

Causes of Infertility

For women, some causes of infertility are:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Conditions causing lack of ovulation, like polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Drug use
  • Blockage of fallopian tubes due to conditions like endometriosis
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Eating disorders

For men, the four most common causes of infertility are:

  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Sperm malformation
  • Sperm duct blockage