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Causes of Infertility


The definition of infertility is when a couple have been trying to conceive for a period of 12 months if younger than 35 years of age, or 6 months if over 35, without success. Therefore if you have been having regular unprotected sex for this period of time and haven’t been successful, you are not alone and in fact 1 in 6 couples (15%) experience infertility. The aim of investigating couples experiencing fertility difficulties is to identify potentially treatable infertility causes (diagnosis), and to identify their chances of achieving a pregnancy without further assistance (prognosis). Female age is the most important factor affecting fertility and a couple’s chance of conceiving. Therefore if you and your partner fit this criteria and are experiencing problems conceiving, we recommend that you are proactive in dealing with your infertility and book a free consultation at Affordable IVF. Recent data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that 3.6% of all women who gave birth in Australia in 2009 received some form of assisted reproductive treatment. Despite being a common condition, infertility is increasingly being overcome through advancements in fertility treatment. Over the last three decades, assisted reproductive technology has resulted in the birth of more than 4.3 million children worldwide. Infertility is classified into "causes affecting women" and "causes affecting men”, where each of these account for about 40%. A further 10% is a combination of both, and in the remaining 10% no clear reason can be identified (which is referred to as unexplained or idiopathic infertility). The common infertility causes are:
  • Ovulation (egg production) disorders, causing complete absence of or reduced production of eggs
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premature menopause
  • Tubal disorders - blockage or absence of one of both fallopian tubes e.g. pelvic infection, scarring from surgery
  • Abnormal semen test - low or no sperm, inactive sperm, abnormal appearing sperm or any combination of these. For more information on this refer to our semen analysis brochure.
  • Other factors such as female age, your lifestyle, genetic disorders and endometriosis can also have an impact on the chance of pregnancy

Making a diagnosis

  • Testing for egg production - this might involve keeping a temperature chart, hormone testing and ultrasound scans, depending on the individual situation.
  • Testing the Fallopian tubes for blockage – procedures to investigate tubal status are called either a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or Hysterosalpingoconstrastsonography (HyCoSy). Sometimes surgery called a laparoscopy can also be used to assess the tubal status.
  • A semen analysis - this may need to be repeated at Affordable IVF to assess the sperm.
Sometimes the cause of a couple's infertility is so obvious that no testing is needed (e.g. the man has had a vasectomy), but for most couples it isn't that clear cut. Once a problem has been identified, more tests may be required to determine the precise infertility cause and whether it will respond to treatment. Currently Affordable IVF only offers IVF and ICSI treatments. If you have been told that you only need intra uterine inseminations (IUI) or any other treatment type other then IVFor ICSI, you will be referred to our parent company.