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Causes of Infertility in Men & Women

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

It is an unfortunate but irrefutable fact that infertility is on the rise in today’s day and age. There are several factors responsible for this, such as lifestyle, the environment, age, etc. Let us take a look at the top reasons for infertility in both men and women.



How does infertility occur?

Infertility is a condition that affects around 10 to 15% of all couples. A couple who has been unsuccessful in conceiving over the course of 12 months, is given a diagnosis of infertility. The time period may be reduced to 6 months if the woman is 35 or above. Women who can conceive but are unable to carry the pregnancy may also be infertile.

Pregnancy has a number of steps. To get pregnant:

1. The woman's body must release an egg from one of her ovaries, which is ovulation.

2. The egg must travel through a fallopian tube towards the uterus or womb.

3. The man's sperm must fertilize the egg.

4. The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus, which is implantation.

Infertility can occur if there are complications in one or more of these steps.

Causes of female infertility

There can be various causes of female infertility. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.


Endometriosis is a disorder where the endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. It affects the normal functioning of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. It can cause internal bleeding, inflammation, adhesions, pain, and in several cases, infertility.

Ovulation problems

There are certain disorders which affect the release of the eggs from the ovaries. These can include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypothyroidism. Other causes may include excessively vigorous exercise, eating disorders such as anorexia, or tumours.

Cervical or uterine problems

Some women may have abnormalities in the cervix, polyps in the uterus or irregularities with the uterine shape. Uterine fibroids in the uterine wall may cause infertility by obstructing the fallopian tubes or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Damage to the fallopian tubes

Another common cause of infertility is fallopian tube damage, scarring, or blockage. This is often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube. This can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually a result of sexually transmitted infections, endometriosis or adhesions.

Premature ovarian failure

In this condition, the ovaries stop working and menstruation ceases before age 40. Symptoms can be irregular periods or no periods, coupled with typical menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and irritability. A woman with premature ovarian failure has a highly reduced chance of conceiving.  However, pregnancy is still possible with the proper treatment.

Causes of male infertility

The top causes of male infertility may include the following.

Abnormal sperm production

This condition could occur due a variety of reasons, such as undescended testicles, genetic defects, health problems such as diabetes, or infections such as chlamydia, mumps or gonorrhoea. Enlarged veins in the testes may also affect the quality of sperm.

Irregular sperm delivery

Certain men may encounter problems with the delivery of sperm. This may occur due to a number of factors, including:

1. Sexual issues, such as premature ejaculation

2. Damage or injury to the reproductive organs

3. Structural problems, such as an obstruction in the testicle

4. Genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis

Environmental factors

Overexposure to certain environmental factors may also contribute to male fertility. These factors include cigarette smoke, alcohol, pesticides, radiation, anabolic steroids, and certain medications. High blood pressure and depression can also affect fertility. Excessive exposure to high temperatures, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can negatively impact sperm production.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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