Are my fertility issues inherited?

Published: 14/04/2023

Is it possible for your family history to affect your fertility?

There isn’t any evidence to suggest that your parents or grandparents’ fertility history will dictate your own. But that does depend on the reason for the infertility in your family in the first place. 

Certain conditions can make becoming pregnant more difficult and having these conditions in your family can in some cases influence your own fertility. Multiple factors influence these conditions and the genetics of some of these conditions are not fully understood. 

For example:

  • Endometriosis is one of the few conditions linked to infertility that can be passed down. Endometriosis causes swelling and scarring which can affect fertility.
  • A common cause of infertility is not ovulating due to Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Family history can play a role in PCOS, if your mother had then there is a small likelihood that you could have it too.
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency is when a women’s ovaries stop working before, she turns 40 and is identified by reduced fertility. The cause is unknown. But if your mother went into menopause early this could be an indicator. 
  • Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that can affect implantation of an embryo. Some women are more genetic predisposed to having fibroids such as black and ethnic women. 

There are many conditions that are not inherited such as low egg reserve, blocked fallopian tubes or poor egg quality, this can happen to anyone regardless of their family history. So to answer the question is my fertility issue genetic – The answer is it depends on the issue but most likely not– it will not be the biggest factor to affect your fertility. 

On the flipside coming from a fertile family does not necessarily indicate that you will be fertile as well. Women are born with number of eggs they will ever have. The speed and age at which your eggs decline does have a genetic component. For example, if your mother went into menopause later in life then they likelihood that you will too is high therefore you will be fertile for longer. The opposite is also true. 

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