Infertility in Women
Infertility in women is her inability to become pregnant even after frequent episodes of unprotected intercourse for a period of one year. A too long or too short menstrual cycle or irregular, painful, or absent periods is a sign of lack of ovulation, commonly linked to female infertility. It is advisable to consult your doctor if you are affected with infertility issues, besides suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis.
Causes of Female Infertility
A problem with the reproductive organs could be one of the causes of infertility. The female reproductive system must work smoothly to achieve pregnancy. When you have unprotected sexual intercourse, a mature egg is released by one of your ovaries, which is then picked by the fallopian tube. When the male sperm flows into the fallopian tube, it combines with the egg to fertilize. The fertilized egg then moves into the uterus, where it grows into a fetus. Any disturbance in this reproductive cycle would mean no pregnancy.
To become pregnant, you need to have regular intercourse during your most fertile time. If you aren’t sure about fertile time, your doctor can answer questions relating to your reproductive system and menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal problems can hinder ovulation, resulting in the failure of ovaries to produce eggs. Malfunctioning of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland could result in immature eggs. In 20 percent cases of female infertility, this is the cause of ovarian failure.
- Ovulation: In order to become pregnant, you must ovulate, meaning your ovaries must produce and release an egg. Women experiencing hormonal changes have problems with ovulation. In normal women, synchronized hormonal changes cause release of ovum from the ovary. This also results in thickening of the uterus lining, which is necessary for the growth of the fertilized egg into a fetus.
- Sperm of your partner: Unless your partner is infertile, they will release sperm during intercourse. A man who frequently remains ill might not have healthy sperm. Consult your doctor to evaluate health of your spouse’s sperm.
- Open fallopian tubes: A female with a healthy reproductive system has open fallopian tubes as well as a normal uterus. However, women with closed fallopian tube experience problems in getting pregnant, since it is in the fallopian tubes that the egg and sperm meet. Closed fallopian tubes are one of the most common causes of female infertility today. Any damage to the fallopian tubes could mean the sperm cannot flow into the tubes, thus preventing its contact with the female egg. Pelvic infections or surgery and endometriosis could cause scar formation and ultimately damage the fallopian tubes.
- Uterine causes: In some women, the presence of fibroids or polyps could cause obstruction of fallopian tubes and uterus.
- Cervical problem: Some women suffer from a cervical condition, wherein sperm is not able to pass through the cervical canal to enter the fallopian tubes. This may be due to a cervical surgical procedure or abnormal mucus production. Such cervical conditions can be treated with intrauterine inseminations.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to toxins, such as lead, Dibromochloropropane, and Ethylene Oxide, can cause ovulation and fertility problems, resulting in birth defects, mutations, or abortions.
For 20 percent couples, the cause of infertility cannot be determined. The chances of having a baby reduce by 3-5 percent per year after you reach 30 years of age. After you cross 40 years of age, this reduction in fertility is significant.