Is Fertility Genetic?

August 22 2022 8:34am

A couple with a baby in their arms

Infertility is the inability to conceive naturally following 12 months of attempts. There are many factors that this can be attributed to. A whole host of health conditions and genetic disorders can be inherited, affecting both male and female fertility. We have listed a few that are common below.


Female Infertility

Health Conditions 

For women, there are two common health conditions that can cause infertility – Endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). 

PCOS disrupts the hormones in the body and affects the body’s ability to ovulate each month. 

Endometriosis, on the other hand, affects the lining of the uterus. For those with the condition, the tissue grows on the outside. This results in scarring and inflammation which can affect fertility. The causes of both are unknown but are thought to be genetic.


Genetic Disorders Affecting Female Fertility

Genetic disorders are the result of DNA changes. They affect one or more genes and can be passed down through generations. Some of the more common ones that are known to affect female fertility are:

  • Turner Syndrome – This condition affects the x chromosome. It is often absent or altered in the females born with the condition. This means that their ovaries aren’t able to properly develop.
  • Fragile X Premutation – This disorder is the result of change to a gene called FMR1, found on the X chromosome. It limits the productivity of the ovaries and thus, fertility. 
  • Kallmann Syndrome – This can be caused by several gene changes and result in delayed or absent puberty.


Male Infertility

  • Klinefelter Syndrome – Those with this disorder have an additional X chromosome. Instead of X and Y chromosomes, they possess two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome which affects the production of sperm. 
  • Y Chromosome MicrodeletionsIn some, areas of the Y chromosome can be missing which, again, interferes with the production of sperm.
  • CFTR GeneChanges to this gene can affect male fertility as it can reduce sperm count and block its transport. This then leads to prevention of the proper development of the reproductive system.
  • Kallmann SyndromeThose with this condition suffer from lower levels of GnRH, reducing testosterone and the production of sperm. 

Infertility is complex and there are a range of factors that can cause it. Aside from those listed above, there are various lesser-known genetic conditions and disorders. To gain a better understanding of your fertility, you can book a test with one of our specialists who will be able to shed light on the issues that you may be facing.


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