Causes of Infertility

Causes of Female Infertility Can be Structural, Hormonal or Related to Age

Conception is a very delicate process that relies on the good reproductive health of both partners. The male partner must be able to produce enough healthy sperm to fertilize an egg, while the woman must regularly release an egg.

To meet, both the man's sperm and the woman's egg must be able to travel through their respective reproductive tracts without any hindrance. Finally, the uterus must be able to provide a nourishing environment for the embryo to implant and thrive. There are a variety of circumstances that may impact upon this process, they include:

There are several infertility problems that are normally treatable using traditional fertility treatments.

Ovulation Problems: Infrequent or irregular ovulation is usually caused by one or more of the following factors:

  • Pituitary dysfunction: occurs when the pituitary gland does not secrete the right amount of FSH and LH hormones.
  • Polycystic ovaries: occurs when the ovaries develop a series of small cysts and fail to produce mature eggs.
  • Luteal phase dysfunction: when the body does not produce enough progesterone and the uterine lining is not able to sustain a fertilized egg.
  • Premature menopause: menstrual periods cease at an early age secondary to early loss of ovarian function.

Other fertility problems that may require more extensive treatment can include:

  • Lack of cervical mucus: Some women may not have enough cervical mucus to allow for the passage of sperm into the cervix. Treatment for this condition may include estrogen or intrauterine insemination.
  • Sperm antibodies: Sometimes sperm antibodies are present in the cervix which destroy the sperm. In vitro fertilization may be required.
  • Adhesions: Sometimes scar tissue that results from disease or infection may damage or block the fallopian tubes. If there is not extensive damage, then surgical treatment may be used to remove the blockage. Adhesions may also occur inside the uterus which may affect the implantation of a fertilized egg. This problem is often treated with hysteroscopic surgery.
  • Tubal sterilization: If sterilization took place within the recent past, reversal is often possible. See Women's Health.
  • Mucus plug: In some cases, a mucus plug forms which blocks a fallopian tube. A thin catheter can be inserted through the cervix to unblock the tube.
  • Fibroid tumors: These non-cancerous growths, which occasionally grow in and around the uterus, may be removed by abdominal or hysteroscopic surgery.