Common types of Fertility Problems - what might be stopping you getting pregnant

1st March 2010 in Infertility

At Manchester Fertility we see over 850 new patients a year. And each one of them will have differing medical reasons why they need infertility treatment. So what might be stopping you getting pregnant? Here are some of the most common fertility problems we see and treat. Remember that no obvious reason may be found to account for the delay in at least 1:3 couples (called “unexplained infertility”).

Infertility in women


Female age is the most important single factor that determines the outcome of fertility treatment. Fertility starts to decline from age 35 onwards.
Infertility problems in women are most commonly caused by problems with ovulation, which is the monthly release of an egg. From not releasing any eggs at all to not ovulating regularly every month, these types of problems can be caused by a number of medical conditions. These include:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance which causes irregular or absent ovulation and makes it difficult for your ovaries to actually produce an egg. Polycystic ovaries are found in at least 5% of women, the vast majority of who have no difficulty in becoming pregnant. The syndrome consists of excess weight plus absent or very irregular periods.
  • Premature ovarian failure, which is when your ovaries stop working too early, before the age of 40
  • Over or underactive thyroid, both can prevent ovulation
  • Damaged fallopian tubes, There are also women who suffer from problems with their fallopian tubes, ranging from scarring and damage to complete blockage of the tubes, commonly caused by infections such as chlamydia or conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis .

Infertility in men


Infertility in men is most often caused by sperm disorders. Common problems include:

  • A low sperm count, or even none at all
  • Poor sperm motility, which means the sperm can’t swim to the egg to fertilise it
  • Abnormally-shaped sperm, resulting in poor motility
  • Anti sperm antibodies

Although these are the most common problems, about a third of couples fall into the category of unexplained fertility. This is where there is simply no medical reason why they cannot get pregnant.

The good news is that whatever the problem, the vast majority can be overcome with infertility treatment. From IVF in conjunction with ICSI, to the use of donor sperm and eggs, infertility treatment is advancing all the time. If you’re concerned about you or your partner’s fertility, see your GP. They will conduct thorough initial tests to pinpoint any medical reason and if needed, you can then be referred to an infertility treatment centre such as Manchester Fertility.

This information was published 9 years, 9 months ago and was correct at the time of publication. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.