FEMALE: diagnosed in up to 45% of cases
This is when the endometrial tissue (the uterine lining that sheds with each monthly period) grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis is a key factor in infertility, as it can cause tubal blockages and ovulation problems.
This can be any condition, (usually hormonal) which prevents the release of a mature egg from an ovary.
Poor Egg Quality:
Eggs that become damaged or develop chromosomal abnormalities cannot sustain a pregnancy. This problem is usually age-related, as egg quality declines significantly in the late 30s and early 40s.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
PCOS is caused by a hormone imbalance that disrupts ovulation. The ovaries develop many small cysts instead of ripening and maturing one egg each cycle.
Female tube blockages:
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes prevent eggs from getting to the uterus and sperm from getting to the egg. Leading causes include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, and previous sterilisation surgery.
MALE: diagnosed in about 30% of cases.
Male Tube Blockages:
This can be any obstruction in the vast deferens or epididymis (the tubes that transport fertile sperm). Infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, injury, or birth defects can cause blockages. Varicoceles, enlarged veins in the scrotum, may also affect sperm production.
Low or no sperm counts, poor sperm motility (the ability to move), and abnormally shaped sperm can all cause infertility.
Some men have an immune reaction to semen, which causes them to produce anti-sperm antibodies that damage their sperm. This is most common after a vasectomy. About three per cent of infertile men have an immune reaction to their own sperm.
About 25 per cent of all fertility problems have unexplained reasons. Also, a combination is diagnosed in about 40 per cent of cases.
This “catch all” term is used when doctors can't find a cause for infertility after a full series of tests and assessments. Some experts think being significantly overweight or underweight, exercising excessively and even environmental toxins may be contributing factors.
The term used to describe couples who have both male and female infertility problems, and when one partner has more than one fertility problem.