Infertility refers to the inability to conceive or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. It can occur for a variety of complex reasons, and it can affect both men and women. In fact, almost an equal number of cases of infertility can be attributed to men and women. There are also a number of cases of infertility that simply can’t be explained or are attributable to factors in both the man and the woman.
Medically, a couple is often diagnosed with having infertility if they have tried at the right times to produce a baby with no success for a full year, or for six months if they're trying to conceive and are older than 35.
A whole host of factors can contribute to infertility in both men and women. Often, people can be infertile but show no symptoms so they won’t know it until they try to conceive a child. Lifestyle factors such as older age, a heavier weight, smoking or alcohol abuse can all contribute to infertility. Certain diseases can also cause infertility, including some sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis and tubal diseases. Some environmental exposures can also lead to infertility.
If you or your partner is found to be infertile, there are now more treatment options than ever before. A variety of medications can be taken by both men and women to boost fertility or reduce certain problems that may cause the inability to have a baby. Artificial insemination is sometimes also used to inject the partner’s or a donor’s sperm into the woman at the time of ovulation. In vitro fertilization is a process in which the woman’s egg is fertilized by the man’s sperm outside of the body in a laboratory. The fertilized egg is then implanted in the woman’s uterus. These are just a handful of the many options available to medically address the problem of infertility.
SOURCE: National Infertility Association