There are many possible causes of infertility, and it is not uncommon to find that there are 2 or 3 factors affecting a couple trying to conceive.
The following factors are all possibilities when determining the cause of infertility:
- Ovulation disorders/dysfunction, including polycystic ovarian disease (or “PCO”, which is a condition that can disrupt a woman’s normal ovulation cycle)
- Male factor (such as low sperm count or motility)
- Endometriosis (a condition in which uterine cells are present outside of the uterus)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (or “PID”, which refers to inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries)
- Uterine (or Mullerian) abnormalities (including the most common: a uterine septum)
- Immune factors (causing your immune system to fight a pregnancy as it would a virus)
The good news is that a basic work-up can often identify the potential causes for a couple’s infertility – idiopathic (or unexplained) infertility is rare. For information about egg or sperm quality and function, however, as well as embryo and subsequent blastocyst quality and implantation, a couple must undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Late Maternal Age
The most common problem facing infertile women, specifically, is advancing age. It’s no secret that the pregnancy rate declines while the miscarriage rate increases as a woman gets older, and that genetic abnormalities (such as Down’s syndrome) become more likely.
In fact, embryo biopsies have shown that 80% of embryos in women 40 years of age are chromosomally abnormal – a number that increases with each year that passes. This means that your chances of achieving a pregnancy are higher the earlier you seek treatment.
Failed IVF and IUI
Another possible cause of infertility in couples who have undergone multiple IVF and IUI procedures without success is implantation problems. For couples who reach this point, we will attempt to identify and correct the problem by first determining whether the problem is indeed with the implantation or with the embryo. While poor-quality embryos and blastocysts are always the result of an egg and/or sperm problem, implantation problems can result from uterine abnormalities (such as submucous fibroids or a uterine septum) or immune deficiencies resulting in continuous rejection of the implanted embryo.