Common Fertility Problems
Infertility is a very common problem with an estimated 15 – 20% of couples experiencing fertility problems at some stage of their reproductive life.
Infertility versus subfertility
For some couples infertility is ‘absolute’. This means that getting pregnant will be impossible without using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) at a specialist fertility clinic. Absolute infertility usually arises due to conditions that are unable to be treated, such as blocked fallopian tubes in the female partner or genetic conditions causing zero sperm count in the male partner. Only about 5% of the population is considered to have absolute infertility.
For many couples however, although natural conception is possible, chances are reduced for various reasons. This is a much more common scenario and in these cases, the term ‘subfertility’ can be used, rather than infertility.
Causes of fertility problems
Fertility problems can be caused by a number of different factors. These include poor egg or sperm quality, low sperm count, ovulation problems, blocked fallopian tubes, problems with the uterus, inadequate cervical mucus, endometriosis and PCOS.
Some fertility problems are due to the male partner only, some to the female partner only, some are due to a combination of factors from both partners and some are due to reasons that are unknown (unexplained infertility). These can be broken down as follows:
Causes of Fertility Problems