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Infertility - Facts and Causes

It is estimated that 15-20% of reproductive-aged couples have difficulty conceiving without assistance. Approximately 85% of couples conceive naturally after one year of trying. Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. In women over 35 years

old, the diagnosis of infertility is often given after six months of trying to conceive. While the causes of infertility are not always clear, in about 80% of infertile couples there are one or more of these reasons:

  1. sperm abnormalities,
  2. fallopian tube disease,
  3. ovulation disorders and
  4. uterine abnormalities.

In about 10% of cases, even after an extensive work-up a cause cannot be determined, and in those cases the couple is diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

Here are more facts about infertility:

  • About 25% of cases of infertility are due to ovulation problems such as anovulation and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS);
  • 30% are caused by pelvic factors such as endometriosis, adhesions, or tubal disease, and
  • 35% are due to male factors such as an abnormal sperm count (for example, oligospermia or not enough sperm, increased semen viscosity, decreased sperm motility, or decreased semen volume).
  • Less than 5% of infertility is caused by abnormal cervical mucus penetration, antisperm antibodies, or corpus luteum defects (CLP).
  • In about 10-15% of couples, no specific reason for infertility can be found on initial evaluation. This is called (unexplained infertility). But on further evaluation and treatment, occasionally factors such as poor sperm penetration or abnormal-appearing oocytes (eggs) are discovered.

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