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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 14: Infertility (When You Are Not Able to Have a Baby)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhat Is Infertility?
Open this folder and view contentsWhat Causes Infertility?
View the documentDangers at Work or Home That Can Hurt Fertility
View the documentWhat to Do for Infertility
View the documentLosing a Pregnancy (Miscarriage)
View the documentLiving with Infertility
View the documentWorking for Change

What Is Infertility?

We say a couple is infertile if they cannot get pregnant after having sex together a few times a month for a year, without using a family planning method. A couple may also have a fertility problem if they have had 3 or more miscarriages (lost pregnancies) in a row.

Normal fertility Healthy sperm swim through the womb to the healthy egg.

A man or woman who has already had a child can also become infertile. A problem can develop in the years after the last child was born.

Sometimes the problem is not the man’s or the woman’s alone but a combination of the two. And sometimes both partners seem to be healthy and no doctor or test can find out what is causing the problem.

Habits such as drinking too much alcohol, smoking or chewing tobacco, and using drugs can all affect a man’s or a woman’s fertility.