Types of Infertility and Treatment Options – A Complete Guide

6 min read

Written by Ajanta Biswas

Ajanta Biswas

Inferttility types and treatment

The word ‘infertility’ is a nightmare for couples trying to have a baby in their life. But with the involvement of stress, fast foods, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle, infertility is not a distant phenomenon in today’s world. Almost 22% of married couples now suffer to get a natural conception because of infertility. That is why IVF and test tube baby centres are getting more popular. There can be many types of infertility and each one is treated after careful monitoring, conducting various tests and charting a treatment plan. The treatment path for one couple may be different from the treatment path for another.

Both physical and environmental reasons can cause infertility. Environmental causes can be easily eradicated but physical reasons will require medical help to heal. So what is infertility and what are the types of it? What are the reasons and symptoms of infertility? When should one get a doctor’s advice and treatment for infertility? Here is detailed information for your queries.

In This Article

What is Infertility

According to WHO, infertility is a condition of the reproductive system in men and women that cause failure in achieving pregnancy after trying for 12 months of unprotected regular sexual intercourse. Approximately one out of every six people belonging to reproductive age is suffering from infertility. The main reasons for infertility in the male reproductive system are insufficient sperm count or poor quality of the sperm, problems with ejecting the sperm, abnormal shape and movement of the sperm, etc. Female infertility can occur due to abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, endocrine system, etc.

4 Common Types of Infertility

Infertility types

According to the NHS, there are two types of infertility. These are as follows;

1. Primary Infertility

Primary infertility is one of the most common types of infertility and may need advanced artificial reproduction techniques to achieve a successful pregnancy. In this type of infertility, the couple has tried to conceive before but has been unsuccessful or they are having difficulty in conceiving.

2. Secondary Infertility

This happens when the person has one or more successful conceptions before but currently having problems conceiving again.

[Read : Secondary Infertility]

3. Subfertility

Subfertility is the condition where natural conception is possible but it takes a longer wait. In subfertility, conception can happen without medical intervention which is not possible in the case of infertility. Subfertility is the delay in conception that may or may not lead to infertility. In subfertility, couples after changing their lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, avoiding smoking and drinking, and using an ovulation predictor kit or measuring basal body temperature, etc. can get a positive result.

4.Unexplained Infertility

Unexplained infertility is the condition when the cause of infertility in the person or the couple is not prominent after various fertility tests. It is a term used by healthcare providers to describe infertility without any obvious cause found after fertility tests. It is a tricky situation as it gets difficult to understand where to focus on. Doctors will declare unexplained fertility if the couple was not having any problems regarding ovulation time, the structure of the uterus and fallopian tubes, egg and sperm count, hormonal levels, etc. In this case, fertility enhancement treatments and assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intrauterine insemination) are helpful.

Common Symptoms of Infertility

The most obvious symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant after trying for several months without using birth control.

There may or may not be any other symptoms of infertility in the patient.

Women with infertility can have menstrual problems such as irregular or absent periods.

Men with infertility on the other hand can show some signs of hormonal misbalance, such as having changes in facial hair growth, erectile dysfunction, etc.

Treatment Options For Infertility

Infertility treatment options

Both the help of medication and surgery can be taken for treating infertility in men and women.

1. Fertility Supplements and Drugs

Women suffering from ovulation disorders such as delayed or absent ovulation can take the help of fertility drugs and medications. The doctor will provide you with fertility drugs to regulate and induce ovulation and release multiple eggs in a cycle if needed. A fertility specialist with decide the course of medications during monitored cycles. Apart from these, the doctor may also prescribe general fertility supplements for women to improve the chances of healthy egg and a healthy conception.

For men, doctors can prescribe medicines to improve testicular function to increase sperm count, quality and motility. Fertility supplements for men also can be extremely helpful.

2. Surgery

Women with uterine problems such as the uterine septum, endometrial polyps, ovarian cysts, intrauterine scar tissues, etc. can take the help of various surgical methods to correct the defects. The correction of these defects can improve the chances of conception.

In men, surgery can be conducted to cure male infertility by reversing sperm blockage and repairing varicocele.

[Read : Can Ovarian Cysts Make It Difficult To Get Pregnant?]

3. Assisted Reproductive Technology

If the above treatments are not sufficient then ART or assisted reproductive technology is used.

a. Invitro Fertilization or IVF

IVF or in vitro fertilization is the most popular ART technique. IVF includes stimulating and obtaining several mature eggs of the mother and fertilising them on a lab dish with the sperm of the father. 

b. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI

In this process, a single sperm is injected into the egg directly. This process is done in case of poor sperm quantity or quality and failed previous IVFs.

[Read : What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?]

c. Donor-Assisted Conception

Usually, IUI, IVF and ICSI use the egg and semen of the couple suffering from infertility. But if either the egg or the sperm is not good enough then it can be taken from a known or unknown donor.

d. Assisted Hatching

This technique is used to assist the implantation process by opening the outer cover of the embryo before planting it on the uterus lining.

e. Gestational Carrier

If the woman has problems with uterus functions or has any serious health condition that will not allow her to carry a baby to full term, then a gestational carrier can carry the couple’s embryo for the next nine months.

When to Consult a Doctor?

when to consult for infertility

A couple will need to consult a fertility expert or a gynecologist if they have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for a period of 6 months or more. Additionally, the following conditions in men and women may warrant a visit to the doctor.

For Women

  • Age more than 35 years and trying unsuccessfully for 6 months to conceive
  • Painful periods
  • Untimely or absent periods
  • Previous history of failed pregnancies or multiple miscarriages
  • Underlying conditions such as PCOD, endometriosis, or cancer

For Men

  • Low sperm count
  • Issues such as swollen scrotum or small testicles
  • Conditions such as prostate, testicular or other sexual problems in the past or a present
  • Family history of male infertility

Having infertility does not necessarily mean that you cannot become pregnant. There are several ways of treatment that you can get to increase your fertility chances. There is assisted reproductive technology for your help. So do not lose hope. Start early, choose the right hospital, follow proper diet and lifestyle habits and treatment routines.


1. Is Infertility Genetic?

Yes, genetic inheritance is one of many causes of infertility. Almost half of the people suffering from infertility have genetically inherited the problem. However, fertility is a complex medical condition that does not limit to only genetic causes.

2. What Are The Three Infertility Treatments?

There are mainly three types of treatment you can get for infertility according to your condition. These are; medications, surgical procedures, and assisted reproductive procedures that include IVF and IUI.

3. What is The Most Common Infertility?

According to NCBI, the most common infertility in women is failure to ovulate and almost 40% of infertile women have this issue. Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS has recently become the main reason behind ovulation failure in women.

Read Also: What Are The Different Types Of Assisted Reproductive Technologies?

Ajanta Biswas,MA (English)

Studying English literature has been highly instrumental in creating a love for English and World Literature for this writer. Ajanta has been writing for more than two years. She specializes in creating short and crisp blogs that can create awareness among women about healthy pregnancy and among parents about better parenting.Read more.

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