Fertility can be affected by several reasons for men and women. 

These factors increase the risk of infertility in all genders:

  • Age (over age 35 for women or over 40 for men).
  • Diabetes.
  • Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
  • Excessive alcohol use.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead and pesticides.
  • Radiation therapy or other cancer treatments.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Smoking.
  • Stress.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Weight problems (obesity or underweight).

Some are:


Infertility in Women

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition caused by reproductive hormone problems affecting the ovaries. When a woman has PCOS, her eggs may not develop properly or not be released during ovulation. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the Western countries are affected by PCOS. 


  • High androgen (male sex hormones present in small amounts for women) levels, preventing eggs to not develop properly & from being released. 
  • High insulin level, causing more androgen production 
  • Family history of PCOS


  • Weight gain
  • Missed, irregular, or light period
  • Excess body hair (face, chest, stomach, and back)
  • Infertility
  • Acne (face, chest, and upper back)
  • Hair thinning/loss
  • Skin darkens (neck creases, groin, and underneath breasts)
  • Excess skin or skin tags (neck or armpit)

In addition, women with PCOS can develop more health issues such as type  2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart & blood vessel issues, and uterine cancer. 




Treatment varies on the severity of symptoms. Treatment includes:

  • Medications to relieve symptoms, prevent blood clots, lower diabetes, and other symptoms 
  • Increasing hydration
  • Diet and exercise 
  • Birth control pills to control menstrual cycles and reduce androgen & acne
  • Frequent physical exams and ultrasounds
  • Blood tests to monitor for dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and other problems


Ovulation problems 

When a woman’s ovaries can’t release a mature egg or have eggs mature in the ovaries, it causes ovulation problems, sometimes referred to as Premature Ovarian Failure. This can result in fertility issues. 

Symptoms consist of:

  • Irregular/no periods
  • Abnormally heavy or light vaginal bleeding or period
  • Lack of premenstrual symptoms like bloating or sore breasts 

Treatment involves:

  • Monitoring body weight
  • Taking fertility drugs
  • IVF



Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue (tissue found in the lining of the uterus) grows outside the uterus, typically in the pelvis or abdomen.  


Some women don’t have any symptoms, while others have:

  • Unusually painful periods
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvis


Treatment involves:

  • Surgery to remove endometrial tissue or open blocked fallopian tubes
  • Taking fertility drugs


Poor egg quality 

A woman’s egg quality and number declines after the age of 35. If the sperm manages to fertilize the egg, there’s a high probability of miscarriage. Other factors that reduce egg quality include: 

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Consuming excessive sugar and  processed foods, etc

Treatment involves:

  • Taking fertility drugs
  • IVF with your eggs, donor eggs, or donor embryos


Issues with fallopian tubes 

Fallopian tubes that are damaged or blocked prevent sperm from reaching the egg and can also prevent the fertilized egg from traveling to the uterus. Issues with fallopian tubes can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, STIs, and previous surgery. 

Treatment includes:

  • Opening & repair tubes through surgery


Unexplained fertility problems 


Differences in the development of follicles, sperm functions, and fertilization can cause unexplained fertility problems. In addition, certain lifestyles such as being underweight, overweight, ingesting too much caffeine & alcohol, and smoking tobacco can also lead to this. 

Treatments include:

  • Fertility drugs
  • IVF


Infertility in Men

A man’s fertility can be determined through semen analysis through sperm amount, movement, and shape. Some factors that affect a man’s fertility include: 


Testicular Issues

Testicles can contribute to infertility through certain situations like:

  • Varicocele: a condition where the testicle’s veins are enlarged. This can affect the sperm’s amount and shape. 
  • Injury to the testes can reduce sperm production
  • Alcohol, smoking, steroid, and drug use
  • Cancer treatments: chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery that removes one or both the testicles
  • Certain medications: for diabetes, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, and infections causing testicular failure


Hormonal Disorders

A man’s fertility can be hampered by issues with hormone production that maintain testicular function, such as in the hypothalamus or pituitary glands. Sperm production can be greatly reduced if the pituitary gland is damaged or produces too much prolactin (responsible for improving testosterone & semen production) or the hypothalamus cannot function normally. In addition, certain medical conditions, tumors, and exposure to too much estrogen & testosterone also affect fertility. 


Genetic Disorders

Genetic disorders can compromise sperm functions & production and reduce fertility. Some conditions include:

  • Klinefelter Syndrome: occurs when a man has an additional X chromosome in his genome. This causes either no or very low sperm count & testosterone. 
  • Cystic Fibrosis: it’s an inherited disease characterized by the buildup of thick, sticky mucus that can damage many of the body’s organs including the reproductive organs. 
  • Y Chromosome microdeletions: is when a portion of the Y chromosomes are missing, called microdeletions, resulting in major sperm abnormalities.