Primary infertility is defined as when a couple faces challenges with their first pregnancy after at least 1 year of unprotected sex (intercourse). In other words, they have trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. The term is also used when a woman has never had a successful birth of a child or when a man has never successfully impregnated a woman.
The causes of infertility can be both physical and emotional, and can be experienced by both men and women.
- The causes of female infertility include:
- Defects of the uterus and cervix (fibroids, polyps, birth defects)
- Hormone imbalance or deficiencies, often related to age
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Scarring from sexually transmitted disease or endometriosis
- Long-term (chronic) disease, such as diabetes
- Autoimmune disorders
- Clotting disorders
- Excessive exercising, eating disorders or poor nutrition
- Exposure to certain medications or toxins
- Heavy use of alcohol
Additionally, there can be egg-related problems, such as egg production in the ovaries, movement of the eggs from the ovary to the uterus, attachment of the eggs to the uterine lining, and survival of the egg or embryo once it has attached to the lining.
The causes of male infertility include:
- Genetic abnormalities
- Hormone deficiency or taking too much of a hormone
- Infections of the testes or the epididymis, the tube that stores and carries sperm
- Older age
- Previous chemotherapy
- Previous scarring due to infection (including sexually transmitted diseases), trauma or surgery
- Environmental pollutants
- Exposure to high heat for prolonged periods
- Radiation exposure
- Retrograde ejaculation (dry orgasm)
- Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine
- Use of certain prescription drugs
Additionally, there can be sperm-related issues including a decrease in the number of sperm produced by the man, a blockage of the sperms' release, or sperm that do not function properly.
At PRO VITA, we create a custom fertility treatment plan for our patients that combines a medical approach to resolving infertility with complementary care services including support groups, individual and couples counseling, and nutritional advice.