Skip to content

What causes infertility? Understanding the Causes of Infertility

Infertility is a complex medical condition that affects many individuals and couples. 

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine has recently (2023) expanded the definition of infertility which now encompasses the following : 

  • The inability to achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient’s medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing, or any combination of those factors.
  • The need for medical intervention, including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy either as an individual or with a partner.
  • In patients having regular, unprotected intercourse and without any known etiology for either partner suggestive of impaired reproductive ability, evaluation should be initiated at 12 months when the female partner is under 35 years of age and at 6 months when the female partner is 35 years of age or older.

Infertility can be caused by a variety of factors. Understanding the causes of infertility is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment. 

So what causes infertility? Let’s delve into some of the primary causes .

Ovulatory Disorders

One of the leading causes of female infertility in Australia is ovulatory disorders. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), characterised by hormonal imbalances and irregular ovulation, can hinder conception.


Endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, affects a significant number of women. This condition can lead to pelvic inflammation, scarring and ovarian cysts, all of which can interfere with fertility. 

Tubal Factors

Damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes can prevent the egg from meeting the sperm, leading to infertility. Tubal factors can result from infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), previous surgeries or conditions like endometriosis. To assess tubal factors, procedures such as hysterosalpingography (HSG) and/or a laparoscopy may be recommended.

Male Factor Infertility

Infertility isn’t solely a female issue; male factor infertility contributes to a significant percentage of cases. Factors such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility or abnormal sperm morphology can impede fertilisation. Lifestyle factors, genetics and environmental influences have an impact on male fertility.

Unexplained Infertility

In some cases, despite thorough evaluation, the cause of infertility remains unexplained. Australian medical practitioners encounter couples who face the frustration of unexplained infertility. Research in Australia continues to explore underlying factors such as subtle hormonal imbalances, immune system dysregulation, or undetected genetic abnormalities.

Age-related Infertility

Advanced maternal age is a well-documented factor in infertility. As women age, the quality and quantity of their eggs decline, reducing the chances of successful conception. Women should be aware about the impact of age on fertility and the potential need for assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as they approach their late 30s and beyond.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and poor nutrition can adversely affect fertility in both men and women. Lifestyle modifications as part of fertility treatment plans, aim to optimise reproductive health.

Understanding the multifaceted nature of infertility is crucial for providing comprehensive care to individuals and couples seeking to conceive. Tailoring interventions to address the specific needs of each patient can ultimately increase the chances of successful conception.

    Dr. Ed Gomez can provide further assistance and guidance in navigating the complexities of infertility diagnosis and treatment. Contact his rooms today.

    What causes infertility? Understanding the Causes of Infertility
    Dr Ed Gomez is proud to be a member and affiliated with

    Contact us

    General Enquiries
    Telephone: 1800 961 456

    6 Kempsey Street,
    Blacktown NSW 2148
    Tel: (02) 9622 8000
    Fax: (02) 9622 8686

    Suite 4.03, Level 4
    17 Macquarie Street,
    Parramatta NSW 2150
    Tel: (02) 7809 0947
    Fax: (02) 7809 0946