What are some causes of infertility that you can investigate? If you’ve experienced infertility, you know the struggle. You have probably had the thought ‘how the hell does any one get pregnant?’. You know that it seems like the hardest thing in the world. And you’re right, getting pregnant is complex. It’s a wonder that all the factors align for people to get pregnant at all.
Today I wanted to talk about 4 causes of infertility in the hope they can help you in your journey. Here are a few 4 causes of infertility that you can investigate if you’re having trouble conceiving.
4 Causes of Infertility
1. Sperm and egg quality
Biology 101 is that sperm needs to meet your egg for pregnancy to occur. Sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and DNA fragmentation can contribute to infertility. Reduced egg quality can affect embryo development, meaning it may lack the energy to divide and develop after fertilisation. Investigating both sperm and egg quality is an important first step. You can look at ordering a DNA fragmentation test for men. Currently there is no way to test egg quality per se. In clinical practice I will look at your FSH, oestrogen, and AMH to get an insightful into your egg quality. This leads us onto the next thing to investigate.
2. Hormone balance and metabolic health
There are several hormones that influence a person’s ability to get pregnant. This includes oestrogen and progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), androgens, insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormones. When there is miscommunication between a few of these hormones it can impact your fertility. You can learn more about female hormones here. Investigating the communication between these hormones is so important to rule this out as a contributing factor. If you need help with your hormone test results book in for my pathology analysis service.
Causes of Infertility
3. Vaginal microbiome
Hello endometriosis 👋🏼 This is a big topic and an emerging area of research. Endometriosis is a cause of infertility, or rather sub-fertility. If you have endometriosis, which is driven from an imbalance in the gut microbiota (also called dysbiosis). Then it’s likely you’ll also have dysbiosis in the vagina, uterine lining, and even in the fluid that surrounds your eggs. This can disrupt how your eggs develop, ovulation, and implantation. All of which are all foundational for getting pregnant. I will often order a vaginal microbiome swap for my fertility clients from nutripath which gives us great insight into healthy vaginal bacteria and others that can be impacting your fertility.
4. Genetic abnormalities such as hemochromatosis
The 4th cause of infertility are genetic abnormalities such as hemochromatosis, which can impact both male and female fertility. There is a lot of literature on the effects hemochromatosis has on male fertility, but not so much on female. The fact is that it affects females just as much as males and is often overlooked as a contributing factor to female infertility.
I’ll take a look at your iron studies and can pick up on hemochromatosis by looking at the transferrin saturation. Unfortunately this is often over looked in women who have a regular menstrual bleed because your iron stores of ferritin don’t indicate abnormally high iron stores. Which is a key identifying factor for hemochromatosis.
Hemochromatsis is more common than you think and can cause iron overload in the pelvis, which is not great for egg quality or your hormones. Luckily there are a number of things we can do to help reduce the impact of hemochromatosis on your fertility.
Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or through IVF these factors are still relevant and can impact your success. Your best option is to work with someone who will take time to investigate these contributing factors.
If you’re ready to investigate your infertility then book in for my enhance your fertility package today.
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Wang, C., Wen, Y. X., & Mai, Q. Y. (2022). Impact of metabolic disorders on endometrial receptivity in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 23(3), 221. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2022.11145
Marquardt, R. M., Kim, T. H., Shin, J. H., & Jeong, J. W. (2019). Progesterone and Estrogen Signaling in the Endometrium: What Goes Wrong in Endometriosis?. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3822. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153822
Mazzilli, R., Medenica, S., Di Tommaso, A. M., Fabozzi, G., Zamponi, V., Cimadomo, D., Rienzi, L., Ubaldi, F. M., Watanabe, M., Faggiano, A., La Vignera, S., & Defeudis, G. (2023). The role of thyroid function in female and male infertility: a narrative review. Journal of endocrinological investigation, 46(1), 15–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40618-022-01883-7
Salliss, M. E., Farland, L. V., Mahnert, N. D., & Herbst-Kralovetz, M. M. (2021). The role of gut and genital microbiota and the estrobolome in endometriosis, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. Human reproduction update, 28(1), 92–131. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmab035
Tweed, M. J., & Roland, J. M. (1998). Haemochromatosis as an endocrine cause of subfertility. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 316(7135), 915–916. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7135.915