Female Infertility: Causes,Treatments And More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Motherhood is a difficult yet beautiful phase. The ability to bloom a life within is a blessing and the joy of bringing a baby into the world is unmatched.

Sadly, a few females wish to embrace this beautiful journey but face hardships in doing so.

Female infertility affects females all over the globe. The reasons are many and several risk factors may increase the possibility of infertility. There is a cure or solution to some cases while others may end up in disappointment.

Since female infertility is such a sensitive topic and gaining knowledge about it is vital, this article focuses on everything about female fertility that you should know.

It is the inability to conceive( get pregnant) even when a woman tries to for at least a year. When a female crosses the age of 35, the failure in pregnancy even after 6 months of trying is called female infertility.

Getting pregnant but miscarriage consecutively is also a type of infertility. About one-third of cases of infertility are due to females, thus, such type of infertility is termed female infertility. The reasons could be many and the complications also vary.

Causes Of Female Infertility

Besides the unknown causes and the ones due to the male partner, the reasons for infertility could be

  1. Problems Related To The Uterus

    The problems related to the uterus causing infertility are several.

    • The first one is uterine polyps. These are the growth on the inner lining of the uterus called the endometrium. They could occur anytime on their own. If untreated, it may interfere with the menstrual cycle and fertility.

    • The next one is fibroids. These are non-cancerous tumors in the uterus that may make it difficult for females to conceive. These may also occur anytime.

    • Septum or adhesions in the uterus cavity are also causes of infertility. The septum is a wall that runs down the uterus dividing it into two portions. It is present by birth. Adhesions may occur after surgeries.
  2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    PID or pelvic inflammatory disease is the infection of the reproductive organs of females.

    The affected organs might be the uterus, fallopian tube, and ovaries. The most common cause of PID is an infection caused due to sexual transmissions like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

    In some cases, non-sexual factors exist. It is characterized by abnormal discharge and abdominal pain. This disease is another factor leading to female infertility.

  3. Irregular Or Absent Ovulation

    Hormones are a key factor in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation. A hormonal imbalance may lead to irregular ovulation or complete absence.

    Besides, eating disorders, thyroid, pituitary tumors and stress are major reasons for affected ovulation.

  4. Problems With The Eggs

    A female is born with a limited number of eggs that start releasing during puberty upon maturation. Either of the two ovaries releases an egg once a month till it is fertilized.

    The process continues till a woman reaches menopause. But sometimes the limited supply of eggs may run out before menopause.

    In some cases, the eggs have problems with chromosome pairs. So, it may not develop into a healthy fetus.

  5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

    PCOS is a widespread problem faced by women. The cyst formation in the ovaries prevents a regular menstrual cycle.

    Moreover, it may come with additional problems like obesity, absent periods, and hindered growth of eggs. Thus, it may cause infertility due to hormonal imbalance.

Risk Factors That May Lead To Infertility

Following are the several factors that may increase the possibility of female fertility.

  1. Age

    With increasing age, the number of eggs reduces as menopause approaches. The healthy eggs are even fewer as the chromosome impairment may lead to abnormalities.

    Alongside, after the age of 35, women are more prone to health problems. They may also face complications and difficulty carrying the baby despite conceiving it. On the other hand, some may not conceive.

  2. Poor Lifestyle

    Drinking and smoking may affect the fertility of both genders. If a female smokes, drinks or falls prey to substance abuse, the outcomes might be adverse.

    According to a study, such unhealthy habits and diet may lead to failed pregnancies and increase the chances of infertility and other health issues.

  3. Autoimmune Disorders

    Certain autoimmune disorders could have the potential to cause endometriosis, thyroid, and celiac disease. Thus, they may prove to be a risk factor for infertility.

    Some of such autoimmune disorders are lupus, Hashimoto’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland conditions.

  4. Poor Weight Management, Diet, And Exercise

    Both obesity and being underweight may increase the chances of female infertility. According to a study, obesity may disrupt the hormonal balance, leading to infertility.

    On the other hand, underweight women may also experience hormonal fluctuations. Their body may stop producing estrogen, causing missed periods. Thus, it may get hard to conceive.

    Besides weight, a diet with extremely poor fat concentration followed by a heavy workout routine may also lead to infertility.

  5. DES Syndrome

    It is a syndrome caused in children whose mothers took DES medication during pregnancy to avoid mishappenings like miscarriage or complications. As a result, if the child was a female, she may experience infertility.

Could Female Infertility Be Prevented?

It may not be possible to predict female infertility in most cases. Thus, prevention could also not be possible. However, the contributing risk factors could be reduced to some extent.

Quitting certain habits like drinking and smoking might be able to help you. At the same time, weight management and getting regular medical checks may help. An early visit to the doctor may help diagnose problems like endometriosis, reducing the chances of infertility. As a result, as soon as you observe any signs of infertility, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Tests For Female Infertility

Before conducting exams, the medical expert may ask you about the menstrual cycle and abnormalities.

They may need to know if you had any past pregnancies, miscarriages, irregular periods, light or heavy flow, and unusual discharge. After that, he/ she may advance to further tests as per requirement.

  1. Physical Exam

    It may involve a complete physical examination, pap test, pelvic ultrasound, pelvic exam, and breast examination for unusual milk production.

  2. Blood Test

    The doctor may take a sample of your blood to check for thyroid, prolactin, and progesterone levels.

  3. X-ray Hysterosalpingogram

    This test is done to check for blockage. To conduct the test, a dye is inserted in the cervix and then observed through an x-ray. The healthcare provider watches carefully the movement of dye in fallopian tubes.

  4. Laparoscopy

    This test involves the insertion of a laparoscope ( an instrument for monitoring) into the abdomen for looking at organs.

  5. Transvaginal Ultrasound

    It is different from an abdominal ultrasound as it includes the insertion of a wand inside the vagina. It could provide a better view of the uterus and ovaries.

  6. Saline Sonohysterography

    In this test, saline water is filled in the uterus to get a better analysis of the uterine cavity during the transvaginal ultrasound.

    The problems that could be checked for by SIS are uterine polyps, structural abnormalities, and fibroids.

  7. Hysteroscopy

    Yet another test to get a better look at female reproductive organs. A device called a hysteroscope (a slim device with a camera) is inserted up through the cervix.

Treatment Of Female Infertility

Treatment varies according to the underlying cause of infertility.

  • Women with structural issues of organs like the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes may undergo surgery.
  • The ones having hormonal imbalance may be prescribed medications or hormone therapy.
  • Artificial insemination is used to insert sperm directly up the cervix into the uterus to conceive.
  • In vitro fertilization, popularly known as IVF could be used to overcome infertility. The egg and sperm are fused outside the uterus in a lab. Then, the mature embryo is transferred to the uterus.
  • If treatment is not possible if one wishes to start a family, adoption and surrogacy are the better options.


Female infertility is a common problem from which females are suffering all around the globe.  The causes of infertility could be related to reproductive organs, hormones, medical conditions, genetics, and injuries.

The risk factors are unhealthy lifestyle, medications, and improper menstrual cycle. If you are facing difficulty in getting pregnant after trying for a year, talk to a medical expert and get a diagnosis.

After knowing the cause and with the right treatment, you may experience the joy of motherhood.

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