Causes of Infertility in Women
About one quarter of infertility cases are due to ovulation disorders. If a woman has an ovulation disorder, she may ovulate infrequently or not all. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common disorders impacting ovulation. Other causes of ovulation disorders include ovarian insufficiency and hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Infertility due to age is one of the most common causes of female infertility. As a woman gets older, the number of her eggs decreases rapidly. Additionally, the quality of her eggs also decreases increases the chance of chromosomal abnormalities. Studies have shown that approximately 70% of miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities.
Endometriosis is when the tissue of the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. About 10% of reproductive age women are affected by endometriosis.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common endocrine condition in reproductive-aged women. It affects approximately 5-10% of young women and often leads to difficulty conceiving. Women with this condition can experience irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, acne, and can have ovaries containing multiple small cysts.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus. They are very common (approximately 40% of women have them them).
Tubal factor fertility is when there are problems in the fallopian tube(s), which prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition when the menstrual cycle and ovulation is disrupted due to the hypothalamus not working properly.
Pelvic Adhesive Disease
Pelvic adhesive disease is a condition that occurs when adhesions (scar tissue) causes your internal tissues and organs to stick together. Pelvic adhesions are common after abdominal or pelvic surgery, and can also be caused by infections, abdominal trauma or endometriosis.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can cause infertility. They are also two of the leading causes of preventable infertility both in the US and around the world.
Being under- or overweight can interfere with ovulation and increase the miscarriage rate, while extra fat tissue can negatively affect egg quality, causing poorer embryo development, and the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, where implantation occurs.
Even after a full fertility work-up, for one in five couples an exact cause of infertility cannot be determined. Unexplained infertility is not the same thing as having no explanation, but rather reflects the fact that the tests performed have been normal. There is always an explanation! Often, IVF can reveal abnormalities in egg quality, sperm function, or embryo development that would not have been determined from standard testing. Thankfully, even when the cause of infertility is not known, various fertility treatments can eventually lead to delivery of a healthy baby.