According to the World Health Organization, for couples aged 35 or younger, infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” For couples older than 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of having unprotected, well-timed intercourse.
Infertility can be caused by one or more factors for both men and women. It is important to recognize the signs of when a couple should take the first steps to see a doctor to learn about their options.
There are many reasons that contribute to female infertility. Some reasons may involve disorders that interrupts ovulation and the development and release of a viable egg. Some common reasons include:
- Blockage of the Fallopian tubes
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Diminished Ovarian Reserve
- Ovarian Failure Caused by Age or Other Factors
- Defect in the Female Reproductive System
With male infertility, problems mainly involve the production and delivery of sperm. For men, sperm problems may involve the quantity, motility, and/or morphology of the sperm:
- Sperm Quantity – measures the number of sperm cells. It is caused by low sperm count (oligospermia) or no sperm count (azoospermia).
- Sperm Motility – refers to the movement and swimming of sperm. It is measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample.
- Sperm Morphology – refers to the shape of the sperm. Normal sperm have an oval head with a long tail. Abnormal sperm have head or tail defects
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