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Infertility is an inability to conceive and bear children. It can describe a total inability, describe extreme difficulty in conceiving, or in a woman can describe an inability to carry a pregnancy to term. Either prospective parent can be the cause and it often requires extensive testing to determine the underlying cause, which can include:
- Chromosome abnormalities in either parent
- Diabetes mellitus in either parent
- Thyroid problems in either parent, including anti-thyroid antibodies
- Adrenal gland disease in either parent
- Hyperprolactinemia in either parent
- Hypopituitary conditions in either parent
- Several toxins
- Immature ovaries in women
- Being overweight or underweight in women
- Being over the age of 35 for women
- Blockages of the fallopian tubes
- Poor semen quality
Treatment of infertility depend on the underlying problem. In modern medicine, the use of fertility drugs (that stimulate the release of the ovum from the ovaries) and technologies like in-vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood are in common use. However, in up to 20% of cases, the underlying cause of the infertility remains unknown.