The general causes of infertility and tips to improve infertility



The genital glands called gonads: ovaries in women and testes in men but also all other organs which together constitute the genitals (in women, are the tubes and uterus; in humans the Channels that allow sperm transport and ejaculation).

-The pituitary gland located at the base of the brain, whose hormones play a role of stimulation of the gonads, essential to reproduction. As we have seen, natural reproduction also requires good coordination between the various organs (ovaries, tubes, uterus in women, testicles and excretory ducts in men) and sexual intercourse which must take place at the right time Ovulation.

A lesion of the genital organs or abnormal functioning of the pituitary gland and the genital organs may disrupt the mechanism of reproduction and cause more or less permanent infertility.

There is the talk of infertility when, in the absence of any contraception despite regular and frequent enough reports, a couple fails to conceive after two years. Only then are examinations justified to investigate the possible causes of this infertility.

It is good to know that in the absence of any anomaly, a fertile couple has no more than 25% chance per cycle of getting pregnant. Sometimes, there are elements that make it possible to evoke infertility, and in this case, a balance is prescribed.


Some infertility factors are common to both men and women:

Hypothalamic-pituitary pathologies

They are responsible for a decrease in gonadotropins, FSH and LH, with an alteration of gonadal control, either ovarian with anovulation or testicular with a sperm production deficit.

These pathologies can be organic, that is to say, the consequence of a tumoral or genetic or functional pathology, most often due to a deficit of the energy balance.

Impact of weight on fertility of man and woman


Most studies have observed an alteration of the spermatic parameters associated with BMI: decreased concentration or total sperm count decreased mobile sperm count, increased atypical spermatozoa.

A recent meta-analysis of 14 studies demonstrates an increased risk of Oligospermia in patients with elevated BMI. There also seems to increased DNA fragmentation sperm in obesity or even overweight suggesting impaired sperm quality.

In the event of overweight or obesity in men, the chances of giving birth after IVF ICSI would thus decrease by about 35% compared to men of normal weight. These results must be confirmed in larger series.


Most studies suggest that chronic alcohol intoxication affects male fertility, with impairment of sperm parameters such as decreased sperm volume, decreased sperm concentration, decreased mobility and impaired sperm morphology.


In 2009, one in three women of childbearing age is overweight (20-25%) or obese (10-15%). Numerous epidemiological studies on large cohorts of pregnant women have demonstrated the link between weight at conception and the chances of pregnancy. The risk of having to conceive for more than a year is increased by 27% in case of overweight and 78% in obesity.

Weight is a major factor in the risk of infertility by anovulation. This risk is multiplied by 1.3 for a BMI between 24 and 25.9 kg / m2 and by about 3.7 for a BMI greater than 32 kg / m2.

Indeed, a high BMI is a risk factor for resistance to clomiphene citrate (no ovulation despite increasing doses) and is linked to the increased doses of clomiphene citrate or gonadotrophins necessary to induce growth follicular.

Infectious causes

Major causes of impaired fertility include infectious diseases, mainly sexually transmitted infections.

In women in periods of sexual activity, pelvic inflammatory disease (mainly chronic salpingitis and endometritis) is one of the most frequent infections.

In humans, urogenital infections and inflammation remain an important etiological factor in male infertility. Infections in the male genitourinary tract are responsible for about 15% of infertility.

Environmental factors



On the male side, smoking in adulthood was associated with an alteration in sperm characteristics, corresponding to a 10 to 20% decrease in sperm concentration in smoking men compared to non-smoking women.

Smoking in adulthood during pregnancy, in both men and women, is also associated with an increase in the time to obtain pregnancy.

Air Pollutants

Some studies have suggested an alteration of short-term sperm characteristics about air pollution levels. More fundamentally, toxicological studies indicate that airborne pollutants from road traffic, particularly diesel fumes, can act as an endocrine disruptor and that developmental exposure may be associated with alterations in sperm Adult stage.

Pollutants in drinking water

In industrialized countries (where the infectious risk from drinking water is considered to be controlled), the major pollutants in drinking water are chlorinated by-products (a very large family including hundreds of compounds, Trihalomethanes or the family of halo acetic acids), certain pesticides, nitrates and heavy metals.


Male exposure to lead has an impact on sperm characteristics, on fertility of the couple (estimated by the time to conceive a pregnancy).

The case of Distilbene (DES)

Distilbene (or DES), prescribed to pregnant women in France between the years 1950 and 1977, has an impact on the fertility of women exposed in utero and on their progeny (increased risk of congenital malformations of the male genital organs). In cases where the exposed fetus is male, there does not appear to be any impact on subsequent fertility.

The heat

The testes are located outside the body, and their ideal operating temperature is one to two degrees lower than that of the body. Exposure to heat has an impact on spermatogenesis. Within one to two months after exposure of the testes to high heat, a decrease in sperm concentration is observed.



Nature is very tolerant, and one can have normal ovulations by being very thin, or rather overweight. If these limits are exceeded, negative consequences on fertility may appear. Conversely, it is sometimes enough to lose (or gain) a few pounds to regain a normal fertility, even staying far from the ideal weight.

The tolerance interval is measured by body mass index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by a simple formula = weight / (size in meter) ². Its normal value is 19 to 24. The excess weight has consequences scientifically proven fertility, even if one can encounter obese people who have many children. The risk of not conceiving after one year of waiting is increased by 30% in case of overweight and by 80% in case of obesity.

The link with infertility is a certain resistance of the ovaries to the stimulation treatment, lower IVF results (-30%), a higher risk of miscarriage (+ 33%), and more frequent pregnancy complications (Diabetes - hypertension - prematurity - caesarean section). For the unborn child, obesity poses an additional risk of fetal malformation, and obesity.

The excessive thinness is also a handicap. To function normally, the ovaries need a certain ratio of the mass of muscles and fat mass. The consequences on fertility are almost the same as excess weight: significant ovulation disorders, resistance Ovarian simulation therapy, and lower IVF results.

The sporting high-level, especially those who practice endurance sports have the same problems due to too high a ratio of muscle mass versus fat.



It is also an essential supplement to dieting and has a proven beneficial effect on ovarian functioning.


Many products may interfere with fertility, but some are particularly affected by the frequency of their use and their harmfulness.


The negative consequences of smoking on fertility are certain, in natural fecundity as in Medical Aid to the Procreation. In IVF, smokers lose 15% chance of pregnancy.

Smoking causes a decrease in the ovarian reserve in oocytes, a reduction in the rate of implantation of the embryos, and sometimes serious complications for the child (low birth weight, premature delivery, lung problems, etc.).

All these risks increase with The extent and duration of consumption. But since it is not known if there is a limit below which there would be no risk, the instruction is rather to stop completely. Passive smoking may also be harmful.

Cannabis use has very similar effects to tobacco use.


Although women are significantly less affected by this type of poisoning than men, its effects on fertility are also well documented.

It is advisable to abstain from regular daily consumption, as well as from heavy, even accidental consumption.



Regular consumption of caffeine decreases pregnancy rates in IVF, with a dose-dependent effect. The cause seems to be the decrease in the number of oocytes and the rate of fertilization. Caffeine has a hormonal effect; plasma testosterone decreases in a dose-dependent manner.

It is recommended to limit the daily consumption to 2 cups of coffee or tea per day and to avoid caffeinated sodas and energy drinks.


The products concerned are mainly endocrine disruptors, that is to say, toxic substances capable of mimicking the action of certain hormones. This is a very complicated problem: most of these toxins probably do not act alone, but in association, with others, their effects are not the same for the embryo, child or adult , The long-term consequences are difficult to assess.

In general, it is prudent to avoid contact with pesticides, herbicides, certain food plastics, hair dyes, solvents, industrial inks . In the daily diet, the more a food chain product is, the more likely it is to concentrate toxic products: a cereal is less suspect than beef or salmon fat. And an organic product will always be less at risk.

Since the action of medicines in everyday life is not always well documented, it seems prudent to limit as much as possible the drug consumption, even on analgesics and anti-inflammatories.



The testes are programmed to operate at 35 °. Exposing them to excessive temperatures reduces sperm quality. A high fever can cause a sharp and prolonged decline (2-3 months) of sperm production. Some professions are exposed to excessive temperature, especially among cooks, bakers, metalworkers, and road workers.

In everyday life, you should avoid hot baths , tight clothes, do not put your laptop on your lap to work. It is also recommended that you do not keep your mobile phone in your pocket, as the effect of the emissions may be harmful to the quality of the semen.

The repetitive micro-trauma to the testicles (mountain biking, horse) would also be damaging.


Some products appear to increase the chances of pregnancy. These gains, however, are difficult to quantify, but it is worth trying.

For Women

- Folic acid , or vitamin B9, is a vitamin necessary for the development of the embryo , and in particular its nervous system. The daily requirement is 0.4 mg. Health organizations advocate supplementation for all women wishing to conceive, to start about 2 months before pregnancy .

- Vitamin D also appears useful, a significant deficiency greatly decreasing the chances of pregnancy. The daily requirement is 0.5 μg.

- Vitamin C and vitamin E appear to have useful antioxidant effects.


As well as for women, vitamins have an importance in the fertility of man. Indeed the oxidation of the sperm can generate abnormalities in the spermatozoa (fragmentation of the sperm DNA, Oligospermia, Asthenospermia, teratospermia)

-Zinc appears as an anti-oxidant protector and fight against toxic metals (cadmium).

-Vitamin E (13) has been identified as the most effective antioxidants for sperm protection.

-Vitamin A plays a key role in spermatogenesis . One study showed that in men, the higher the age, body mass index and smoking, the lower the observed blood concentrations of vitamins A and E, with negative consequences for sperm quality.

-Vitamin D also seems to have an influence on spermatozoa: Men with vitamin D deficiency have a lower grade of semen, this being true both in terms of mobility and morphology of spermatozoa

-Vitamin C deficiency has also been shown to contribute to low sperm count and reduced sperm mobility. Like sperm agglutination, reduced mobility prevents sperm from moving properly.


Researchers at the University of New Delhi studied the effects of an oral treatment of 2 mg lycopene per day on 30 men aged 23 to 45 years and suffering from unexplained infertility.

After three months, doctors found :

• improved sperm quality in 67% of patients;

• improved vitality and sperm mobility in 73% of patients.

• Six participants in this trial would have even become fathers at the end of this study.

It is found in tomatoes but also in other red fruits and grapefruit.

Vitamins and dietary supplements are a valuable aid to improve the quality of sperm. A cure of 3 to 6 months before IVF is often indicated by the practitioners themselves.

Still we would advise to consult your doctor before taking any medicine

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