interlocking male and female symbols with a pink heart shape in the centre

The Reproductive System And Infertility

What’s happening in the male and female reproductive systems could cause infertility. Here’s how you can tell if it’s just a regular down day or if it requires some medical attention.   

Pregnancy is simple, right? It happens when a mature egg is released by the ovary, and a sperm successfully penetrates the egg cell to fertilise it. It then goes to the uterus and attaches itself to the lining, and there you have implantation. It’s just a matter of time before the mum-to-be receives the good news!

However, sometimes it takes a little more hard work to get there, because of hiccups in the reproductive systems of both the male and female. Let’s talk about the proverbial birds and bees, in greater detail.


Of penises and vaginas, eggs and sperms

What’s deemed a pleasurable act can quickly turn stressful if you’re not seeing the results you want. Paranoia starts to set in and you ask questions like ‘what’s wrong with my body’, or ‘have I missed the boat’. 

First, take a deep breath and acknowledge that such paranoia is not abnormal. There’s a wide spectrum to infertility (or whether you even suffer from infertility). There are those lucky enough to get pregnant on the first try, and there are those who take years (just ask our co-founder, Dr Benjamin Tee).  

Reproductive genitalia in the male and female, the penis and the vagina respectively, works in wondrous, and sometimes mysterious ways. To max out the chances of fertilisation after sexual intercourse, the female’s ovarian reserve (how well the ovaries provide quality eggs for fertilisation) has to be large enough, and the male’s testes have to release significant sperm count for the ejaculate to be ‘rich’. 

The law of large numbers, right?

Besides eggs and 39 million swimmers [1], you’ll also need quality: we’re talking quality of swimmers, quality of ovarian health and quality of lifestyle habits. In the absence of these, it may be a lot more difficult to conceive. 


What causes infertility?

While failure to ovulate and low sperm count are two of the most common causes of infertility [2], they don’t paint the full picture.

In some women, fertility issues could be linked to underlying health conditions in the reproductive system and sometimes age [2]. Sad but true, a woman’s ability to conceive starts declining when they hit 35. To be more precise, the likelihood of conceiving falls from 20% a month when a woman is in her late 20s, to 8% in her late 30s [3]. However, this is not to say that it is impossible to conceive, it simply requires a little more time and effort (keep the faith!).  

There could also be other complications you may not be privy to until you perform a detailed fertility check-up. Some examples include blocked fallopian tubes and uterus conditions such as endometriosis. 

Then again, fertility issues could simply come about from adverse lifestyle habits, like excessive alcohol consumption and smoking [4]. This applies to men too, who can also contribute to infertility cases among couples. External lifestyle factors, afflictions like erectile dysfunction, and obesity are, in fact, usual suspects behind hampered pregnancy chances [5]


When is it time to seek a doctor’s help?  

By clinical definition, when a couple is unsuccessful in trying to conceive for more than a year. There are so many variables happening in and out of the reproduction systems, it’s hard to pin conception issues down to a single source. 

So if you suspect you’ve got kinks to be ironed out on the fertility front, don’t stay wallowing and wondering. It might be a good idea to consult your doctor or book yourself a female fertility Hormone Test by twoplus. That way, you get expert opinion on what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Book A twoplus Hormone Test Now
[1] Healthline, What Is A Normal Sperm Count?, 
[2] Complete Fertility Centre, Causes Of Infertility, 
[3] Health Plus By Gleneagles Hospital, Common Causes Of Male Infertility, 
[4] K J Joo 1, Y W Kwon, S C Myung and T H Kim, The Effects Of Smoking And Alcohol Intake On Sperm Quality: Light And Transmission Electron Microscopy Findings, 
[5] Mayo Clinic, Male Infertility,