Generally speaking, fertility problems are not hereditary. However, it ultimately depends on what exactly it is that is causing your fertility problem. Some types of fertility problems can be hereditary.

Endometriosis is one female fertility problem that can be hereditary. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that is usually found only in the lining of the uterus (known as endometrial tissue) grows somewhere outside of the uterus in the abdominal and pelvic region. Endometriosis may have no symptoms, or it can cause painful intercourse and/or menstruation, and general pelvic pain. Endometriosis can be address through surgery to remove the tissue or through artificial insemination.

There are several female fertility problems that do not appear to be hereditary. Poor quality of eggs due to age is not because of heredity, for example. Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes are generally not hereditary, either. Sometimes, problems with ovulation can be hereditary, but often they are due to diet or lifestyle. PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, can be hereditary but is not necessarily so.

In terms of male fertility problems, fertility problems are generally not hereditary either. While it is possible that genetics can lead to low sperm count or low sperm motility or misshapen sperm, generally speaking these things are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. When the vein that supplies the testicle is enlarged, known as a varicocele and this affects fertility, this problem can be hereditary.

Generally speaking, fertility problems tend to have more to do with lifestyle factors than with heredity or genetics. If a person is exposed to heavy metals, for example, he is much more likely to have fertility problems than if his father or grandfather had fertility problems. If a woman doesn’t have a normal monthly cycle because of too much exercise, genetics play little to no role in her fertility problems. In addition, the most severe fertility problems cannot, by definition, be passed on, because there are usually no children to which the problem could be passed.