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Reasons for Infertility - Maybe Not all Medical Issues

A couple is experiencing infertility if after a year of unprotected sex, a couple has been unable to conceive. The reasons behind infertility are both many and varied, affecting both men and women. These conditions can be simple or complex, as can their treatments.

For men, the major cause of infertility is a low sperm count. This can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as varicocele, which refers to the widening of the veins that run along the spermatic cord, and the presence of abnormally-shaped sperm.

Lifestyle decisions can also affect sperm count. For example, cigarette and drug use, as well as excessive alcohol consumption, can negatively affect sperm.

High temperatures also affect sperm count, such as those caused by wearing extremely tight pants, or spending too much time in hot water. Medications and certain illnesses may decrease sperm count, as well. All of these can usually be corrected by stopping the harmful behavior, or by decreasing/stopping medication and treating the illness (when possible).

For women, infertility usually has to do with ovulation. Ovulation can be decreased by a number of factors, one of the most important being age.

While women in their late teens and early twenties have the highest rates of ovulation, after thirty ovulation can slow down considerably. Stress is another factor which can temporarily affect ovulation.

In addition, there are many medical conditions that can cause infertility, either temporarily or permanently. One of these are cervical problems caused by a disease or infection. Blocked fallopian tubes and the presence of scar tissue will affect ovulation, as can fibroids (tumors) in the uterus.

Certain anatomic anomalies or abnormal uterine lining will also cause problems with fertility.

Because infertility can affect either, or both, the man and the woman, the first step is to determine who is having the problem, or if it is a result of a combination of factors.

The sooner you discover this, the sooner you can proceed to treatment. However, it is important to keep in mind that while some problems and conditions can be treated or corrected, there are also some cases of infertility where the cause cannot be identified.

That is why it is important to maintain constant, open communication with your partner throughout the whole process, as you undergo fertility diagnosis tests, receive your results, and discuss your options.

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