Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most couples.
Infertility may result from an issue with either you or your partner, or a combination of factors that prevent pregnancy. There are many safe and effective therapies that significantly improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Symptoms of infertility
The main symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms. Sometimes, a woman with infertility may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. In some cases, a man with infertility may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.
Most couples will eventually conceive, with or without treatment.
When to see a doctor, you probably don’t need to see a doctor about infertility unless you have been trying regularly to get pregnant for at least one year. Women should talk with a doctor earlier, however, if they are
- Age 35 or older and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer.
Over age 40
Have irregular or absent periods.
Have very painful periods.
Have known fertility problems.
Have been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Have had multiple miscarriages.
Have undergone treatment for cancer.
Men should talk to a doctor if they have:
- A low sperm count or other problems with sperm.
- A history of testicular, prostate or sexual problems.
- Undergone treatment for cancer.
- Small testicles or swelling in the scrotum.
Causes of infertility
All of the steps during ovulation and fertilization need to happen correctly in order to get pregnant. Sometimes the issues that cause infertility in couples are present at birth, and sometimes they develop later in life.
Infertility causes can affect one or both partners. In general:
In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the man.
In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the woman.
In the remaining cases, there are issues with both the man and the woman, or no cause can be found.