Infertility is the inability of a couple to naturally conceive, carry or deliver a healthy child. The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID) considers a couple to be infertile if they have not conceived "after a year of unprotected intercourse in women under 35, or after six months in women over 35" [1] or if they are incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term.

Table of contents
1 Causes
2 Treatment
3 Ethics
4 External Links


According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects about 6.1 million people in the U.S., equivalent to ten percent of the reproductive age population. Female infertility accounts for one third of infertility cases, male infertility for another third, combined male and female infertility for another 15%, and the remainder of cases are "unexplained". [1] ''

Female infertility

Factors relating to female infertility include:

Male infertility

The chief factor in male infertility is sperm quality; the man may be producing few or no sperm (conditions known as oligospermia and azoospermia respectively), or the sperm that he produces may have poor motility (affecting its ability to reach the egg). Alcohol and drug abuse can affect sperm quality. Other possible factors include erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation. Age is also believed to affect male fertility.


There are various treatments for infertility, depending what the problem is. These treatments include:


There are many ethical issues associated with infertility and its treatment, particular with regard to any treatment involving embryos.

Recent increases over the last few years in the number of multiple births (the best known being the McCaughey Septuplets) have also provoked concern; the greater the number of babies in a single pregnancy, the more likely they are to have a low birth weight, to be born prematurely and to consequently suffer medical problems.

Some religions (e.g. Catholicism) frown on some or all fertility treatments. Other issues include whether infertility treatment should be funded through health care.

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