When a couple has trouble conceiving, they may begin to look for signs that they are infertile. Generally, infertility is considered being unable to conceive after trying to do so for a full year. Approximately a third of infertility is due to the female, a third of the time is due to the male and a third of the time there is no cause found for the infertility or it is due to both parties, according to Medline Plus. There are some signs that may signal infertility that a couple can watch out for.
The most obvious sign of female infertility is an abnormal menstrual cycle. Lengthy menstrual cycles or irregular periods, such as those of varying lengths or with spotting between periods, make it difficult to conceive. A woman can monitor her basal body temperature to determine if she is ovulating during her cycle. If her temperature stays elevated throughout the menstrual cycle, this is a sign that there are menstrual irregularities and she isn't ovulating, even if the cycle seems normal.
Pelvic dryness is another sign of not being able to have a baby because quality cervical fluid is needed to transport the sperm to the egg. The use of most personal lubricants will decrease the chance of conceiving a child.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, reproductive system abnormalities, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and menopause all make conceiving difficult. Thyroid disease and diabetes can make conceiving difficult. A person who has had cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy may not be able to have a baby.
A man who has cystic fibrosis, a low sperm count, erectile dysfunction or an undescended testicle may not be able to have a baby. Additionally, a man whose testicles are exposed to extreme heat or traumatic situations, such as a hard blow to the groin area, may not be able to have a baby.
Factors Affecting Men and Women
Alcohol or drug abuse may lead to problems conceiving a baby. Being obese or underweight may contribute to infertility. Additionally, using tobacco is known to alter fertility. Advanced age makes it more difficult to conceive. According to the Mayo Clinic, men over 40 and women over 32 face decreasing odds of having a baby.