Infertility – A distressing problems in male or female

BY Dr. Sumeetkaur Mehta , MBBS, DNB Published on December 28, 2021


Infertility is a syndrome or disease related to male and female reproductive system defined as such that this condition of infertility occurs when a couple cannot conceive after having 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse without use of birth control. Worldwide 8% to 12% of couples experience fertility problems. And you don’t have to be scared as treatment is often available.

Causes of Infertility in men

In the male reproductive system, infertility is most frequently caused by problems in the discharge of semen, lack of sperms or low levels of sperms or abnormal shape which is known as morphology and movement (motility) of the sperm. Also male fertility starts to fall after 40 years.

Main factors which Causes the infertility in men

  •  Genetic factors: A man should have an x and y chromosome. If he has two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, as in Klinefelter’s syndrome, the testicles will develop abnormally and there will be low testosterone and a low sperm count or no sperm.
  • Hypospadias: The urethral opening is under the penis, instead of its tip. This abnormality is usually surgically corrected in infancy. If the correction is not done, it may be harder for the sperm to get to the female’s cervix. Hypospadias affects about 1 in every 500 new-born boys.
  • Radiation & Chemo Therapy: Radiation can impair sperm production. The severity usually depends on how near to the testicles the radiation was aimed. Some types of Chemo may significantly reduce sperm count.
  • Some diseases: Conditions that are sometimes linked to lower fertility in males are anaemia, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, Cystic fibrosis, and thyroid disease.
  • Sulfasalazine: This anti-inflammatory drug can significantly lower a man’s sperm count. It is often prescribed for Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The count of sperm often returns to normal after stopping the medication.
  • Anabolic steroids: Popular with bodybuilders and athletes, long-term use can seriously reduce sperm count and mobility.
  • Illegal drugs: Consumption of marijuana and cocaine can lower the sperm count.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Pesticides, for example, may increase the risk.
  • Excess alcohol consumption: This may lower male fertility. Moderate alcohol consumption has not been shown to lower fertility in most men, but it may affect those who already have a low sperm count.
  • Overweight or obesity: This may reduce the chance of conceiving.
  • Mental stress: Stress can be a factor, especially if it leads to reduced sexual activity.

Causes of infertility in women

Researches expose that around 10% of women of age 15 to 44 years are estimated to have difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant.

  •  The ability to conceive starts to fall around the age of 32 years
  • Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women, and it may undermine the effects of fertility treatment.
  • Consumption of alcohol can affect the chances of conceiving.
  • Overweight, Obesity and Cholesterolagain can be major reasons for the increase of the risk of infertility in women as well as men.
  • If an eating disorder leads to serious weight loss, fertility problems may arise.
  • Exposure to some chemicals as pesticides, herbicides, metals, such as lead, and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both men and women.
  • Mental stress: This may affect female ovulation and male sperm production and can lead to reduced sexual activity.
  • Ovulation disorders appear to be the most common cause of infertility in women.
  • Problems in the uterus or fallopian tubes can prevent the egg from traveling from the ovary to the uterus, or womb.


Infertility can be of two types:

  1.  Primary and
  2. Secondary

Primary Infertility is when a couple has not conceived after trying for at least 12 months without using birth control.

Secondary infertility is when they have previously conceived but are no longer able to do it anymore.


Most people will visit their doctor, if there is no pregnancy after 12 months of trying sexual intercourse. If the woman is aged over 35 years, the couple may wish to see a doctor earlier, because fertility testing can take time, and female fertility starts to drop when a woman reaches her 30s.


For couples who face fertility problems and those who wish to have children at an older age, there are more solutions than ever before. In 1978, the first baby was born as a result of IVF. By 2014, over 5 million people had been born after being conceived through IVF. As new technology becomes accessible, fertility treatment is now accessible to more people, and success rates and safety measures are also seen improving all the time. Financing fertility treatment can also be costly, but there are few curriculums that can help this out.


Dr. Sumeetkaur Mehta , MBBS, DNB

Gynecology & Obstetrics

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