What is Considered Infertile?


For many couples, having a baby is one of the highlights of their life. For other couples, infertility is a cold reality they must face for months and sometimes years. Infertility can be caused from a single factor, multiple issues in the man or woman or a combination of issues between both partners.


Infertility is defined as a couple not being able to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected sex. Also, women who are able to conceive but have repeated miscarriages are considered infertile. According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 15 percent of couples in the United States are considered infertile.

Cause Frequency

According to eHealth, the frequency of infertility problems is equally divided between both partners. Thirty-five percent of all infertility stem from the man, 35 percent from the woman. Approximately 20 percent of the time, problems are found in both partners; in 10 percent of the cases, no reason can be found.

Female Causes

There are many reasons a woman can be infertile. She could have problems with ovulation, which could be caused from hormonal problems or diseases including polycystic ovary disease. She could have problems within the Fallopian tubes, such as blockage from scar tissue as a result of an infection or endometriosis. Age can be a factor; a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older, especially after 35. Sometimes a problem can occur when the chemical makeup of the woman’s cervical mucus is hostile to the sperm, either damaging it, killing it or impeding its movement.

Male Causes

For men, problems with sperm are the most common causes of male infertility. This can include the production of sperm, a low sperm count, low sperm motility (movement) or sperm that are not properly formed. Other problems could involve the delivery of sperm during ejaculation.

Seeking Help

If the woman is younger than 30 and has no major health problems, the couple should see a doctor after they have been trying to conceive for a year. Women younger than 30 who have health problems or women older than 30 should see a doctor after the couple have tried to conceive for 6 months. According to Women’s Health, no matter how old the woman is, the couple should talk to a doctor before trying to conceive. A doctor can help a woman prepare her body for pregnancy and give the couple information on conception.

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