What is infertility?
Infertility is defined as not having become pregnant after 1 year of having regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control. If you are older than 35 years, an evaluation and possible treatment are recommended after 6 months. If you are older than 40 years, an evaluation and possible treatment are recommended before you reach the 6-month mark.
What causes infertility?
The most common cause of female infertility is lack of or irregular ovulation. The most common causes of male infertility are problems in the testes that affect how sperm are made or how they function.
Age is a major factor in infertility. For healthy couples in their 20s or early 30s, the chance that a woman will become pregnant is about 25–30% in any single menstrual cycle. By age 40 years, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant decreases to less than 10% per menstrual cycle. A man’s fertility also declines with age, but not as predictably.
Lifestyle factors also can play a role in infertility. In women, being underweight, being overweight, or exercising too much may be associated with infertility. In both men and women, drinking alcohol at moderate or heavy levels may be a factor in infertility.
What treatment options are available for infertility?
Your treatment options will depend on the cause of your infertility. Lifestyle changes, medication, surgery, or other approaches may be recommended. Some treatments may be combined to improve results. Infertility often can be successfully treated even if no cause is found.