Causes of Infertility: Overview

Infertility is the inability to become pregnant within one year of trying by couples in which the woman is younger than the age of 35. For women who are age 35 or older, infertility is marked by not being able to get pregnant within six months of trying.

Although a woman’s age is one indicator that can factor into infertility, one or both partners may have a condition that is causing a fertility issue. In fact, male infertility is involved in one-third of cases, female infertility in another third, and both partners have contributing issues or unknown causes of infertility in another third.

Learn about infertility in men and women below.

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Infertility in women

Common causes of female infertility include:

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Infertility in men

Common causes of male infertility include:

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Unexplained infertility

When infertile couples or individuals have undergone all appropriate tests and no cause for their infertility is found, they are diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

Learn more about unexplained infertility


In women, obesity is a serious risk factor for irregular ovulation and infertility (inability to become pregnant), and in men, obesity is linked to impaired semen quality, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.

Learn more about obesity-related infertility