82 chapter 4: Understanding your body
2. Problems with ovulation. If an infertile woman’s monthly
bleedings are less than 21 days apart, or more than 35 days
apart, she may not produce eggs. This can be caused by her
body not making enough hormones, or not making them
at the right time. Sometimes this happens as a woman
gets older and is close to the end of her cycle of monthly
bleeding (menopause). Some women do not produce eggs if
they gain or lose weight very quickly, or if they are too fat or
too thin, or if they become ill.
Ovary does not
produce an egg.
3. She has growths (fibroids) in her
womb. Fibroids are tumors that do
not cause cancer, but they can cause
Infertility in a man
The main causes of infertility in a man are:
1. He does not produce enough sperm.
2. His testicles do not make healthy sperm. This can happen if he wears tight
clothing that press his testicles close to his body, or if he works in a hot area, such
as near boilers, furnaces, or engines—especially if he drives for many hours without
a break. This can also happen if he sits all day, or sits for a long time in a hot bath
before having sex.
3. He cannot ejaculate because he has scars in his tubes from a sexually transmitted
infection (STI), or he has a spinal cord injury.
Infertility in both men
In both men or women, infertility
can be caused by:
1. Illnesses such as mumps, diabetes,
tuberculosis, and malaria.
2. Drinking alcohol, smoking or
chewing tobacco, or using drugs.
3. Malnutrition, too much stress,
overwork, or exposure to some
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007