What Is Infertility?

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body's ability to perform the basic function of reproduction. Although conceiving a child may seem to be simple and natural, the physiological process is quite complicated and depends on the proper function of many factors, including the following:

  • Production of healthy sperm by the man
  • Production of healthy eggs by the woman
  • Unblocked male genital tract that allows sperm to exit the body
  • Unblocked fallopian tubes that allow the sperm to reach the egg
  • The sperm's ability to fertilize the egg
  • The ability of the fertilized egg to become implanted in the uterus
  • Adequate embryo quality

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the premier reproductive medical society in the United States, recommends both members of an infertile couple receive an evaluation in order to expedite and improve reproductive goals.

Who is affected by infertility?

The average chance to conceive for a normally fertile couple having regular, unprotected intercourse is approximately 15-25 percent during each menstrual cycle. In most couples, conception occurs within about 12 months. However, infertility affects about 15 percent of couples of childbearing age. Infertility is not just a woman's concern. A problem with the male is a cause of infertility in 50 percent of infertile couples. About one-third of infertile couples have more than one cause or factor related to their inability to conceive.

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