Structural Causes of Male and Female Infertility

The Dallas Fort Worth Fertility Associates team—fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinologists Dr. Samuel Chantilis, Dr. Karen Lee, Dr. Mika Thomas, Dr. Ravi Gada and Dr. Laura Lawrence are experienced in helping couples cope with the structural causes of infertility.

Structural Causes of Female Infertility

Problems with the female anatomy are one of the most common causes of infertility in women. They include:

Ovarian Cysts – most ovarian cysts do not cause fertility problems, but the following types of ovarian cysts may lead to problems getting pregnant: endometriomas (cysts caused by endometriosis) or cysts resulting from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Uterine Fibroids – benign or non-cancerous growths of tissue in the muscular layer of the uterus that make it difficult for an embryo to implant and grow.

Uterine Septum – the result of a congenital malformation, or uterine birth defect, in women where the uterine cavity is divided by a wedge-like partition of tissue. This condition is associated with a higher risk for miscarriage.
Tubal Abnormalities – conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis can cause the tube to be blocked or swollen, interfering with fertilization and the tubes ability to transport a fertilized egg to the uterus.
Pelvic Adhesions – adhesions or scar tissue may form after a pelvic infection, appendicitis or abdominal or pelvic surgery, impairing fertility.
Endometrial & Cervical Issues – If a woman is born with a uterine anomaly (a congenital abnormal uterine shape), it can cause problems. The uterus can also be poorly receptive to embryo implantation due to severe infections or past exposure to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Poor quality cervical mucus that is not present in adequate quantities or is too “sticky” to allow sperm to pass may also contribute to infertility.

Structural Causes of Male Infertility

Male infertility, which can be a factor in as many as half of the couples we see, is sometimes caused by anatomical or structural problems. These include:

Varicoceles – a collection of dilated varicose veins in the spermatic cord. These veins carry blood away from the testicles, thus performing a cooling function. A varicocele can interfere with the normal blood flow and raise the testicular temperature, leading to semen abnormalities, such as decreased sperm count or motility.

Retrograde Ejaculation – occurs when the neck of the male bladder fails to close during orgasm, causing semen to move back into the bladder, rather than out through the penis.

Obstructions – the intricate system in place for sperm production and sperm delivery includes tubes (vas deferens) and storage ducts (epididymis) located within the male testes to store and transport sperm to the urethra. Infections, surgeries or genetic disease can lead to obstructions that halt sperm delivery. Some men are born with blocked ducts or missing tubes. A urethral opening on the underside of the penis (hypospadias) can also lead to poor sperm delivery.

Fortunately, we offer many treatment options for structural causes of infertility. If you are having problems making parenthood a reality, please contact us to set up an appointment so we can help you identify and treat the cause of your infertility.