Is infertility hereditary?
September 2, 2020
Infertility affects 15%–20% of couples worldwide. There are many causes for infertility and one of them is a genetic problem. Recent studies have shown that genetic abnormalities are the cause of infertility in about 10% of females and 15% of males. So, while all causes of infertility are not hereditary, there may be some hereditary factors that may contribute towards infertility.
Genetic causes of infertility
Ovulatory disorders are one of the primary causes of infertility caused by defective genes. Many types of ovulatory disorders such as Kallmann syndrome are caused by genetic causes. Certain genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis and some autoimmune diseases can cause infertility as an additional symptom. Researchers are trying to establish if genetics are involved in premature ovarian failure.
Chromosomal deletions, inversions, mutations can lead to infertility. The chromosomes may all be present, but there may be a change in their pattern in some way and this can lead to infertility. These aberrations can occur in foetuses of normal parents, but some of them can be passed on from parents to the fetus.
Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue grows out of the uterus. Infertility is one of its complications. It has many complex causes, some of them genetic. If your mother or sister has endometriosis then you are more likely to have it too.
Fibroids are small benign tumours that grow in the uterus. They prevent embryos from attaching to the uterus wall. If your mother or sister suffered from fibroids, you may have a slightly higher risk of developing them too.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is caused by hormone imbalance that causes cysts and irregular periods leading to decreased fertility. Genetics play a role in the development of PCOS.
The age of menopause also runs in families. You are more likely to reach menopause at the same age as your mother.
Around 20-30% of infertility is still unexplained.
We know that many conditions that lead to fertility problems have genetic causes. While we may know the causes of some of these genetic changes, more research is necessary to determine how many are inherited. You may or may not inherit fertility problems, we don’t know for certain yet. Till the time we have conclusive evidence, it is better to be safe. If you have any fertility concerns or if your immediate family members had difficulty in getting pregnant consult a fertility expert for evaluation and advice.
Dr. Rela Hospital is one of the best fertility centres in India with the best success rate for IVF. Advanced technology and latest equipment in the hands of a leading fertility specialist helps us provide world class fertility care.