Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse in women under 35, or after six months in women over 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.
Both male and female factors contribute to infertility. Some studies suggest that male and female factors contribute equally. In many cases it may not be possible to definitely explain the reasons for infertility. It is essential that both the male and female partners be evaluated during an infertility work up.
Many things can change a woman's ability to have a baby. These include age, smoking, excess alcohol use, stress, poor diet, being overweight or underweight, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), health problems that cause hormonal changes, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and primary ovarian insufficiency.
Anything that raises the temperature of the scrotum such as the use of hot tubs or long baths or over-tight clothing can harm sperm production. A variety of medicines and recreational drugs can also decrease male fertility. These include alcohol, cigarettes as well as certain medications. Studies have also shown that environmental factors have contributed to decreasing sperm counts over the years.