The sad reality for 9 – 11% of people is that infertility challenges will become a part of their conception journey. Usually, this fact is far beyond the expectation of what starting a family will look like and can leave you feeling sad, mad, and utterly confused.

While finding a fertility partner who cares is ideal for streamlining your fertility experience, successfully navigating the process takes more than finding the right doctor.

It requires an understanding of what’s happening inside your or your partner’s body and how certain conditions and circumstances can inhibit your ability to get pregnant.

What types of conditions can impact fertility?

While many different factors can play a role in your ability to get pregnant, certain situations seem more common than others.

Anovulation, or a Lack of Ovulation

For approximately 40% of people with uteruses facing infertility, a failure to ovulate is the root cause of their situation, making it the most common fertility factor.

What’s important to realize about anovulation is it’s typically a side effect of another condition or disease – not the diagnosis itself. Common causes include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid dysfunction, and aging.


The negative impact of age on fertility is widely discussed. Unfortunately, many don’t realize it’s as much of a problem as it really is. By the time someone hits 35, their fertility will rapidly decline. By 45, getting pregnant naturally is nearly impossible.

Age affects various components of infertility, i.e., ovarian reserve, egg quality, sperm count, and an increased risk of birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS affects as many as 1 in 10 people with uteruses and is one of the most common reproductive conditions. This disease is primarily a hormonal imbalance which affects the overall function of the ovaries and, therefore, fertility.

While not everyone with PCOS will struggle to get pregnant naturally, it’s a frequent side effect of the disease.

PCOS often leads to missed or irregular periods, a lack of ovulation, and ovarian cysts, which can lead to conception troubles.


Endometriosis, a condition where uterine tissue begins to grow outside of the uterine walls, affects up to 10% of American people with uteruses. Not only does this disease cause extreme pain for many, but it’s also a leading cause of infertility in the United States. In fact, up to one-half of those diagnosed with endometriosis struggle with conception problems later.

Uterine Fibroids and Polyps

Around 15% of those who grapple with recurrent miscarriage do so because of structural issues within their uterus like uterine fibroids and polyps.

Polyps and fibroids make it challenging for developing embryos to implant themselves within the uterine wall properly. When implantation is unsuccessful, pregnancy loss is triggered.

Thankfully, treating these types of structural problems isn’t hard. Doctors can remove or correct the issue through simple, pain-free surgeries. Often, once surgery and recovery are complete, individuals go on to achieve viable pregnancies.

Poor Sperm Count, Quality, or Motility

In approximately half of all infertility cases in the United States, a male-factor fertility issue is part of the problem. Most often, this means an issue with the overall number or health of sperm.

Doctors can perform a sperm analysis to determine the overall health, viability, and movement of sperm. Using information gathered from this test, various treatment options are available to overcome these types of fertility concerns.

What Should You Do if You’re Concerned About Infertility?

If you’re worried you could be dealing with one or more of the items on this list, setting up an appointment with your doctor is crucial. Before you can jump into fertility treatments like IVF or donor egg, it’s vital to understand your particular infertility cause.

After your initial appointment, your physician will help you take the next steps in treating your infertility and having a baby.

Infertility is Not Usually a Permanent Diagnosis

Whether you’re dealing with endometriosis or sperm quality issues, it can feel like your diagnosis is the period at the end of a sentence. Thankfully, this isn’t typically the case.

In our world of advanced technology and expanding medical research, scientists and doctors have more information than ever before about infertility and its treatments. No matter how impossible your situation might seem, don’t stress – there’s a good chance the proper treatment is right around the corner.