Given the nature of the sexual organs, fertility problems for men and women have widely different symptoms and causes. In men, fertility problems may result from low sperm count (which in turn could be caused by a number of factors, among them temperature variance and tight clothing), erectile dysfunction, trauma to the tubes that carry sperm, or ejaculatory problems. The root causes for male infertility include bacterial infections in the testes (which may cause scarring in the tubes that transport sperm), radiotherapy, diabetes, genetic factors, and an unhealthy lifestyle that includes large amounts of sedentary activity and poor weight management.
While female infertility is less related to sedentary activity, there are still lifestyle factors like stress, frequent smoking, severe weight problems, and frequent alcohol consumption that make it less likely for women to conceive and / or less likely for women who have conceived to have a healthy pregnancy. There may also be medical causes, like diabetes, epilepsy, or gynecological problems. Female infertility is also much higher after the age of 35, when women’s likelihood of a healthy pregnancy falls and the chance of complications rises. Age 35 is not a definitive marker, however, and these issues may occur earlier or later depending on the individual woman, but all women experience sharp declines in fertility as they approach menopause.
With all of these potential problems, how can couples who want to have children be sure they’ve done all they can to ensure a healthy pregnancy? We recommend consulting your primary physician first, as he or she may have information about local reproductive specialists in your health insurance network. Reproductive specialists at fertility clinics are also excellent sources of information. Be sure to communicate honestly with all physicians involved in the process, as they can only advise a proper course of treatment if they have truthful information. Even if they ask extremely frank questions about your sexual and medical histories, give them the answers they need to help you make the right decision.
Reproductive specialists will also be able to help you with fertility testing, since many conventional home pregnancy tests are by no means 100% accurate. In fact, false readings during home fertility testing may make otherwise healthy women seek fertility treatments they do not need, or attempt to treat fertility problems they do not have. Seek professional medical consultation before entering a fertility treatment program, as doctors will most likely be able to prescribe a change of lifestyle that will significantly increase fertility.