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Understanding Infertility Means Understanding Fertility

Infertility can have many causes, but to completely understand this condition, people have to start with the basics. Human reproduction is a complex process and the reproductive health of both partners must be optimal. This means, at the very least, that the woman must be able to ovulate, and the man must be able to produce sperm.

Infertility: The Basics

The chances of becoming pregnant

If a couple does not have any fertility problems, the chance of conception is only 20-25% per menstrual cycle. Around 85% of couples conceive within a year of trying. The other 15% require some form of fertility treatment.

Getting to the roots of infertility

In the United States, 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. The statistic breakdown is as follows:

  • 35%: infertility is due to male factors
  • 35%: infertility is due to female factors
  • 20%: infertility is due to a combination of male and female factors
  • 10%: the cause is unknown

The basics of male infertility

Diagnosing male infertility begins with semen analysis. If necessary, the fertility specialist may also recommend an ultrasound exam, testicular biopsy or hormone test. Semen analysis checks the health and viability of a man’s sperm. Semen analysis tests the shape, motility, and number of sperm.

If more than 50% of a man’s sperm is abnormally shaped, this will increase the chance of male factor infertility. If less than 50% of the sperm is moving one hour after ejaculation, this will also affect fertility. A normal sperm count is between 20 million and 200 million. Less sperm can result in difficulty conceiving.

The basics of female infertility

Often, female infertility is caused by ovulation problems. Many factors can lead to problems with ovulation. Some of the most common ones include a hormone imbalance, a cyst or tumor, very short menstrual cycles, thyroid problems, an eating disorder, or abnormal weight.

Female infertility can also be due to damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes. Many factors can lead to this type of damage. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine polyps, endometriosis, the presence of scar tissue, or a previous ectopic pregnancy.

Talk to a fertility specialist

Infertility is a more common problem than many people think. This will enable the couple to find the cause of infertility and understand the treatment options. Couples who are struggling to conceive should see a fertility specialist.

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