There may be one or more factors explaining why a couple is unable to conceive. Frustratingly, in approximately 20% of couples no known reason may be discovered. Problems that are identifiable may be generally categorized as follows:
- Ovarian factor: ovulation problems and / or poor ovarian reserve (few eggs remaining)
- Male factor: poor or / no sperm, ejaculatory problems, or vasectomy
- Uterine factor: polyps, fibroids, or abnormal shapes
- Tubal factor: blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or tubal ligation
In some cases, couples don’t have trouble getting pregnant, but instead they have trouble staying pregnant – referred to as recurrent pregnancy loss or recurrent miscarriages. These couples are evaluated in a similarly systematic way.
Relatively simple tests can be done to evaluate the potential cause of a couple’s infertility. It is usually possible to complete the evaluation within a single menstrual cycle (i.e., one month).