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About Infertility

What is infertility and what cause it?
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What is infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of trying for women less than 35 years of age or after six months of trying for women over 35. Women who are able to become pregnant but cannot stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of women ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the CDC. Approximately 15% of women of childbearing age receive care for infertility each year. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases involve problems with the female, one-third are due to problems with the male, and the other cases are due to a mixture of male and female problems or unknown problems.

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What causes infertility in women?

Ovulation dysfunction is the most common cause of female infertility. Without ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary), there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some indications that a woman may not be ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstruation.

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What causes infertility in men?

  • Azospermia (no sperm cells) or oligospermia (few sperm cells) are the most common male infertility factors
  • Malformed sperm cells or sperm cells that die before they can reach the egg
  • Varicocele, enlarged veins in the testes that increase the blood flow and heat, affecting the number and shape of sperm
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and infection
  • Trauma
  • Unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, testosterone supplementation, anabolic steroid use, and illicit drug use

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Anonymous Oocyte Donor program

Eggs (oocytes) can be obtained from a fertile woman to be donated to a woman who is unable to produce eggs herself. The oocytes are retrieved from the donor and fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the recipient’s partner. The resulting embryos are then placed in the recipient’s uterus. By using an oocyte donor, an infertile woman can carry a pregnancy. The donor can be a friend, family member, or an anonymous woman.

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