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Common Causes of Infertility

Common Causes of Infertility

When you’re struggling to conceive, it seems that all of the couples around you are happily having babies without any problem. In reality, about 12% of women 15-44 years old in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. 

Infertility can feel devastating, and we here at Capital Women’s Care understand that. We use our experience and qualifications to help explain your infertility. The OB/GYN team also provides exceptional infertility treatments to help you overcome infertility problems and add to your family.

Infertility can be a result of problems with the man, problems with the woman, or a combination of problems in both partners. Infertility can also occur due to unknown problems. 

Here are some of the most common infertility causes we see at our Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, offices.

Infertility problems in men

About one-third of infertility cases are caused by problems with the man. Most often these problems have to do with sperm production. Men sometimes don’t produce enough sperm, or don’t produce any. 

A condition known as varicocele also affects male fertility. It occurs when the veins in a man’s testicle are so large that the testicles get too hot. The heat affects the quantity and quality of the sperm. 

Sometimes, a man has experienced an injury or illness that damages the reproductive system and blocks sperm movement. Or a genetic condition may cause a man’s sperm to be irregularly shaped. 

Age, exposure to environmental toxins, health problems that affect the hormones or kidneys, cancer treatment, and certain medications can also affect fertility. 

As well, a man’s lifestyle can affect sperm quality and production. When a couple is trying to conceive, we recommend the man halt heavy alcohol use, stop using drugs, and quit smoking. 

When a couple is struggling to conceive, we do a thorough evaluation of the male partner to determine how to proceed with treatment. 

Infertility problems in women

Women’s reproductive systems are complex. Infertility may result from blockages in the fallopian tubes, physical problems in the uterus, or hormonal abnormalities. Pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or prior surgery for an ectopic pregnancy can cause structural problems that make it hard to get pregnant.

Often, infertility in women results from problems with ovulation, or egg production and release. A big clue that you’re having trouble with ovulation is the absence of a period or irregular periods. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal problem that hinders ovulation. If you have PCOS, you have a high level of androgens — or male hormones. Infertility due to PCOS is usually easily overcome with fertility medications and lifestyle changes.

Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is another reason a woman may struggle with ovulation problems. Women with POI have ovaries that stop working before age 40, and the condition is distinct from early menopause.

As a woman passes the age of 35, her chances of getting pregnant greatly decline. Smoking, stress, poor diet, being under- or overweight, excessive alcohol use, and intense athletic training can also affect a woman’s fertility. 

At Capital Women’s Care, we do a thorough review of a woman's fertility status and provide treatments that range from lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive surgery, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization to help you overcome infertility and have a healthy pregnancy. 

Contact us by calling or using this website to request an appointment.

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