The causes of infertility for men and women who can’t get pregnant range from health problems to career stress. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, you may be wondering “Can I even get pregnant?”
I can’t answer that, but I have gathered 20 possible causes of infertility – one of which may be stopping you from conceiving a baby.
First, an important thing to remember about whose “fault” it is if you can’t get pregnant:
“In about 40% of the cases [of infertility], the problem resides in the woman, and in 40%, the problem is in the man’s reproductive system,” says obstetrician, gynecologist, and infertility expert Robert Thompson, MD. “The rest of the time there may be a problem with both the man and the woman.” (alive magazine, February, 2009).
To dig deeper into your problems with getting pregnant, read Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?: Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage & IVF Failure – Explained and Treated.
And, here are 20 possible causes of infertility for men and women…
Causes of Infertility for Men and Women Who Can’t Get Pregnant
Causes of Infertility for Women
- Age – fertility decreases after age 30, decreases more after 35, and practically plummets after age 40.
- Underweight or overweight – women with Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) over 30 and under 20 are less likely to get pregnant. Ideal BMI is between 20 and 30.
- Hormonal changes – some health problems cause hormonal changes, which can cause decreased fertility or infertility.
- Miscarriages – the more miscarriages a woman has, the less likely she may be to get pregnant
- Sexually transmitted diseases – can affect a woman’s reproductive system.
- Fibroids or endometriosis – depending on how advanced the disease is.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease – can cause problems for women who can’t get pregnant.
Causes of Infertility for Men
- Age – but a woman’s age affects her ability to get pregnant more than a man’s age.
- Warm temperatures for testes – laptop computers and “tighty whities” (close fitting underwear) can affect sperm production, motility, and count.
- Prescription medications – can affect sperm and prevent pregnancy.
- Testicular abnormalities – such as varicocoeles can damage or eliminate sperm
Read 4 Ways to Make Sperm Healthy for fertility tips for men.
Causes of Infertility for Both Men and Women
- Environmental toxins – pesticides, lead, and even common household cleansers can contribute to problems getting pregnant.
- Career stress – can lead to physical and emotional problems getting pregnant.
- Recreational drug use
- Poor diet, no exercise
- Radiation treatments for cancer
- Smoking – does not increase fertility and can be a cause of infertility for men and women
If you’ve been wondering why you can’t get pregnant and some of the above causes of infertility are familiar to you, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Fixing possible obstacles to pregnancy and getting pregnant can take months or years…so you want to deal with potential problems right away!
If you can’t get pregnant and you’ve been trying for over a year, read 5 Signs You Should See a Fertility Doctor.