There may be one or more factors explaining why a couple can’t get pregnant. Frustratingly, in approximately 20% of couples, no known reason may be discovered. Problems that are identifiable may generally be categorized as follows:
- Ovarian factor: ovulation problems and/or poor ovarian function (few eggs and/or poor quality eggs)
- Male factor: poor quality, low count, no sperm, ejaculatory problems, or vasectomy
- Uterine factor: polyps, fibroids, or abnormally shaped uterus
- 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.
Tests can be done to evaluate the potential causes of a couple’s infertility. It is usually possible to complete the evaluation within a single menstrual cycle (i.e., one month).