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Does Fertility Run in Families?

Does Fertility Run in Families?


Though hereditary factors can play a role in fertility, most Infertility problems are not hereditary.

More Info: One in six couples has difficulty conceiving and seeks professional intervention.  Though many cases are diagnosed as being caused by physical defects in the male and female reproductive tracts or as a consequence of previous bacterial or viral infections, there is very little research exploring the role that genetics play in fertility.  In fact, many couples that undergo treatment never learn the cause of their infertility.

Genetics and Fertility

One of the few published studies involving fertility and genetics involved infertile men suffering from azoospermia, the inability to produce sperm.  The study concluded that this particular defect is genetic resulting from a missing Y chromosome.

Family History

Fertility specialist need to have an understanding of a patient’s family medical history to better strategize medical treatment options.  For example, it would be helpful for a specialist to know of any family history of hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism, adrenal gland disorders, or diabetes. The specialist would also need to know if a patient’s mother suffered multiple miscarriages and may have been given the drug called DES.

Sociological Fertility in Families

Family size appears to have a strong sociological basis rather than that of genetics based on fertility.  Statistically, as an average, the number of children in a family from which a couple was raised dictates the number of children that they will choose to rear.  Couples that grew up with larger families tend to have larger families themselves.



“Whitehead Institute – Genetic Factors and Infertility.” Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Malpani, MD , Dr. Aniruddha, and Dr. Anjali Malpani MD. How to Have a Baby. 2001 ed. -: Ubspd, 2001. Print.

Perloe, MD, Mark. “Georgia Reproductive Specialists.” Evaluating Male Infertility. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Deville, JC. “Would fertility be hereditary?.” Journal of Economie & Statistique 116 (1979): 3-11. Print.


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