Infertility usually refers to when a couple have been unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. Sometimes, more broadly, the word refers to when a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to term. Infertility affects about 15 in every 100 Australian couples of reproductive age.
There are many causes of infertility. For about 2 in 5 couples it will be due to a sperm problem; in another 2 in 5 couples, there will be a problem with the woman's reproductive system. Sometimes it will be due to a combination of factors — or there will be no apparent cause.
If you are a woman, your fertility may be affected by:
- your age
- if you have any problems with your fallopian tubes
- if you have endometriosis or an ovulation problem
- any fibroids
- if you have pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- your weight and if you smoke
Adult male fertility may be affected by:
- problems with the tubes that connect to the testes
- low sperm production
- high numbers of abnormal sperm
- genetic problems
- problems with the sperm DNA
Follow the links below to find trusted information about infertility.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: May 2018