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Lesser-Known Causes of Infertility

If you and your partner have decided to start a family, you may be finding out that it’s a little bit harder to get pregnant than you originally thought. In fact, a couple’s chance of conceiving is only 15-20% each month. If you and your partner have been trying for over 12 months to get pregnant, doctors recommend seeking infertility treatment.

You both may be aware of more common causes of infertility, such as ovulation issues for women and low sperm count for men, but many other things can cause infertility that you might be surprised to learn about.

Our team at the Center for Human Reproduction, infertility specialists Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS, and David Barad, MD, MS, FACOG, lead our team in diagnosing and treating cases of infertility on an individual basis. 

In this blog, we discuss some causes of infertility that you might be unaware of.

Lesser-known causes of female infertility

Up to 6.7 million women ages 15-44 struggle with infertility, and it’s often caused by irregular ovulation as the result of hormone imbalances or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, female infertility can also be caused by:


This is a condition where the tissue that lines your uterus starts growing in other places, such as your ovaries or fallopian tubes. As a result, irritation and scar tissue can develop, and your reproductive organs are no longer able to operate like they should.

Uterine issues

Both polyps and uterine fibroids can keep you from getting pregnant. Polyps occur when too many cells grow in the lining of your uterus. In addition, uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that reside in the wall of your uterus. Both of these things can keep an egg from attaching to your uterus.

Damaged fallopian tubes

If your fallopian tubes become damaged in any way, fertilized eggs aren’t able to make it from your ovaries to your uterus. Common causes of fallopian tube damage include untreated infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea or a buildup of scar tissue after pelvic surgery.

Egg count and quality

When you’re born, you have all the eggs you’ll ever have for a lifetime. This egg count can run out even before menopause. In addition, eggs with certain chromosomal abnormalities aren’t able to be fertilized. The chances of having these eggs with abnormalities increase as you get older.

Lesser-known causes of male infertility 

About 10% of men in the United States struggle with infertility, and it’s often caused by low sperm count. 

Sperm quality

Many different medical conditions can affect the quality of your sperm. This includes undescended testicles, hormonal imbalances, and health conditions like diabetes. In addition, untreated infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HIV and enlarged veins in the scrotum known as varicocele can impact sperm quality. 

Sperm isn’t able to reach the female reproductive system

Issues that can keep sperm from reaching the female reproductive system include premature ejaculation, cystic fibrosis, testicle blockages, and damage or injury to your reproductive system.

Environmental factors

If you’ve been exposed to pesticides, certain chemicals, or radiation, it can affect your fertility. Some medications that treat high blood pressure, depression, and bacterial infection also have an impact on your fertility. Exposing your testicles to heat from saunas or hot tubs for long periods of time can also play a role.

For expert infertility care, look no further than our team at the Center for Human Reproduction. Schedule an appointment with us today over the phone or online

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