What is infertility?


Dr. Suman

Jun 25, 2021

Around the world, infertility affects nearly 60-80 million couples. A demographic study by WHO (World Health Organization) in 2002 on developing countries (except China) reveals that 186 million women are infertile. Infertility is not only a health issue, besides it’s also a social and emotional problem in some cultures.

What is infertility?

Now the question is what is infertility? It is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy, in spite of having unprotected intercourse for a year or more. It can be due to an issue with male or female or it can be due to a combination of many other factors prohibiting pregnancy. Usually, it is known that fertility in women starts declining after 35 years.

Some women who can conceive but are not able to carry the pregnancy to term may also be diagnosed with infertility. A woman who has never been able to conceive is considered to have primary infertility. A woman who had at least one successful pregnancy but couldn’t carry it to the term is known as secondary infertility.
Infertility is not only a woman’s problem but men can also be infertile. Women and men both can have an infertility issue.

What are the types of infertility?

There are two types of infertility:
Primary Infertility: When a couple is not able to conceive even after trying for a year without any contraception.
Secondary Infertility: When a couple had a successful pregnancy previously but are no longer able to now.

What are the symptoms of infertility?

Not able to conceive is the main symptom of infertility. There are no other obvious infertility symptoms. In some infertile women, irregular periods or absent menstrual cycle is seen. In some cases, men with infertility issues face some hormonal problems for instance changes in sexual function or hair growth.

What are the causes of infertility?

To conceive it is essential that all the steps from ovulation to fertilization need to happen correctly. Sometimes the causes of infertility in couples are present since birth while in others it may happen at the later stage of life. Here are few causes of male and female infertility:

Causes of female infertility

  • The Problem in the uterus: This means there can be fibroids, polyps, septum, or adhesions in the cavity of the uterus. At any time of life polyps and fibroids can form on their own, whereas other abnormalities like septum are present since birth. While adhesions can come up after a surgery such as dilation and curettage (D&C).
  • Ovulation problem: There can be several reasons behind irregular ovulation. Some of the reasons could be hormonal imbalance, substance abuse, severe stress, eating disorder, thyroid condition, and pituitary tumors.
  • The Issue in fallopian tubes: The main cause of “tubal factor” infertility is a pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually caused due to chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • An Issue with quantity and quality of egg: Every woman is born with all the eggs they would have in their lifetime. But this supply of eggs can run out early before menopause. Well, some eggs have the wrong number of chromosomes thus cannot grow or fertilize into a healthy fetus. Sometimes these chromosomal issues affect all the eggs. While others are random but with the age becomes more common.

Cause of Male infertility

  • Sexually transmitted disease, history of prostatitis, genital infection
  • Regularly in contact with toxins like lead
  • Smoking cigarette or marijuana
  • Heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Hernia repair
  • Regularly in contact with radiation, radioactivity, or welding
  • Undescended testicles
  • A genetic issue

How to check for infertility?

There are several tests which are conducted to check for infertility in both male and female. Before going for any test your doctor would need to understand your sexual habits. Sometimes your doctor may also suggest you to improve your sexual habits to increase your chances of getting pregnant. While in some couples, the cause is unexplained.
Evaluation for infertility can be expensive and also sometimes you may have to undergo uncomfortable procedures. Here are few tests to check for:

Infertility tests for women

Now the question arises of what is infertility in females and how it can be detected. Women’s fertility relies on the ovaries releasing healthy eggs. For fertilization, the reproductive tract needs to allow an egg to pass through the fallopian tubes and join with sperm. Later the fertilized egg must travel to the uterus and later implant in the lining. Here are some of the specific tests carried out to check if fertility is impaired:

  • Ovulation Testing: A simple test is done to measure hormone levels to check whether you are ovulating or not.
  • Ovarian reserve testing: This test helps to detect the number of eggs present for ovulation. This phenomenon is often done early during the menstrual cycle along with hormone testing.
  • Hysterosalpingography: This phenomenon is done to evaluate the condition of your uterus and fallopian tubes to check for blockages or other problems.
  • Other hormone testing: This test is performed to check the levels of pituitary hormones and ovulatory hormones that control the process of reproduction.
  • Imaging testing: Pelvic ultrasound is performed to check for uterine or ovarian disease. Even sometimes a sonohysterogram which is also known as a saline infusion sonogram is used to perform a detailed check inside the uterus that is not visible in a regular ultrasound.

Infertility tests for men

The answer to the most commonly asked question – what is infertility in male? is that it is the inability of a man to father his baby. For a male to be fertile it is imperative that his testicles are producing enough healthy sperms, also that the sperm is efficiently ejaculated into the vagina to travel to the eggs. Several tests are performed to check if any of these processes are impaired. Here are few such:

  • Semen analysis: The doctor will ask for semen specimens. Usually, semen is obtained by masturbating or during interrupted intercourse by ejaculating into a clean container.
  • Hormone testing: A blood test is performed to check your testosterone level and other male hormones level.
  • Testicular biopsy: In some of the cases, a testicular biopsy is performed to identify the abnormalities or even to retrieve sperms for reproductive techniques.
  • Genetic testing: This testing is performed to check if there is any genetic abnormality hindering fertility.
  • Imaging: In some cases, imaging studies are performed such as transrectal or scrotal ultrasound, brain MRI or test of the Vas deferens.
  • Other specialty testing: Very rarely other tests are done to check the quality of the sperm, for instance, a semen specimen is evaluated to check DNA abnormalities.

What are the infertility treatments?

With the advancement of science in today’s world, there are several infertility treatments available. Prior to knowing about the treatment, it is essential to understand the Infertility meaning if both partners are trying to get pregnant but are not able to even after trying for a year with unprotected sexual intercourse. Then it’s time to consult a doctor and seek treatment. The type of recommended treatment depends on various factors including:

  • The cause of infertility
  • Since how long the couples have been trying to conceive
  • Age of both the people
  • Couples overall health
  • The personal preference of the couple regarding treatment option after doctor consultation

Male Infertility Treatment

There are various treatments available for men depending upon the cause. Treatment options available for men include medication, surgery, and assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Through surgery, obstruction can be fixed that is preventing sperm from getting in ejaculation. It is also beneficial in correcting conditions like varicocele. While some cases sperm is directly retrieved from testicles and then used in ART treatments.
In the case of hormonal imbalance, medication can be used to treat it. Various other conditions that affect male fertility like ED or infection that affect sperm count are also treated with medication.
ART treatment is where sperm and eggs are handled outside the body. It includes treatment like intracytoplasmic sperm injection and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Female Infertility Treatment

It involves surgery, medication, and reproductive assistance like ART. There are times when numerous types of treatment are needed.
Although surgery is a way to treat female infertility it has become rare now because of the advancement in other fertility treatments. Surgery can enhance fertility by:

  • Correcting the abnormally shaped uterus
  • Clearing the blockage of the fallopian tube
  • Removing fibroids

Reproductive assistance involves procedures like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ART. In the IUI procedure, near to ovulation period millions of sperms are injected into a woman’s uterus.
IVF is an ART that involves the removal of eggs that are fertilized in the laboratory with a man’s sperm. Later once it is fertilized, the embryo is placed back into the uterus.


These days with the advancement of medical science it has become more convenient for couples to conceive a baby, in spite of their inability to become pregnant naturally. So if you are going through an infertility issue it is suggested to seek medical help and enjoy the happiness of being parents.
Hope the above content is able to define what is the meaning of infertility in a better way and give you an answer to all your queries related to it. We at Fertilityzilla, help people with infertility issues by getting them in contact with specialized and experienced fertility experts.


What infertility means?

It is a condition in which the couples are unable to conceive a pregnancy, in spite of trying for long.

What causes infertility?

It is usually caused due to male factors, female factors, or both.

How to know that a woman is infertile?

The topmost symptom of infertility is the inability to conceive. When the menstrual cycle is too long, too short, absent, or irregular, it means that you are not ovulating and that may indicate you are infertile.

Can infertility be cured?

There are some causes of infertility that can’t be corrected. In several cases natural pregnancy doesn’t happen, so such couples conceive a pregnancy through assisted reproductive technology, ie. IUI, IVF, ICSI, etc.

What is infertility treatment?

It is the treatment given to couples who are unable to conceive a baby.

What are the types of infertility?

These are if two types. Primary, where the couples even after trying for 1 year of unprotected sex are not able to conceive, and secondary, where couples got pregnant at least once but are now not able to.

Can you still have a baby if you are infertile?

Despite being infertile, there are several options to have a child. Keeping a track of your most fertile days can enhance your chances of getting pregnant. You can treat any underlying causes and get pregnant.

Speak to our infertility specialist +91 8969340069

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