Female infertility refers to the inability of a woman to conceive pregnancy through sexual intercourse.
It is found that, in the United States, approximately 6.1 million are suffering from female infertility.
Before knowing the causes of female infertility understand the role of female reproductive system in fertilization process.
The female reproductive system consists of three main reproductive organs: Ovaries, Fallopian tubes and Uterus.
Ovaries are a pair of organs that are located in the pelvis, each on either sides of the uterus. The ovaries are responsible for two main functions: production of female hormones and release of eggs.
Fallopian tubes have fimbria (fan-like ends) that is responsible for picking up the ovulated egg. The fertilization takes place in the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes hold the ovum and the sperm all through the fertilization process.
Uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in the pelvis between the bladder and the rectum. The inner lining of the uterus is called endometrium. The uterus is also known as womb, where a baby grows during pregnancy.
The uterus is responsible for the protection, development and nourishment of the fetus until delivery. The lower end of the uterus is the cervix, which connects to the vagina.
During your monthly menstrual cycle, an egg is released by one of the ovaries and the process is called ovulation. After the egg is released from the ovary it is picked up by the fallopian tube where fertilization takes place when the sperm meets the ovum. Once fertilization occurs, the sperm and egg form zygote.
The zygote then travels to the uterus within three days after fertilization. The zygote will grow into a baby and remains in the uterus until delivery.
On the other hand, if the egg is not fertilized, it will travel to the uterus where the lining sheds and leads to menstrual periods.
Infertility may occur if there is any change or problem in the reproductive system. Hormonal imbalance is one of the causes for female infertility. It usually occurs when you have ovulation disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, glandular problems, or premature menopause.
There are physical abnormalities that can cause female infertility. Endometriosis (Endometriosis Symptoms), poor immune system, occluded fallopian tubes, and uterine abnormalities are some abnormalities that can prevent you from becoming pregnant.
On the other hand, certain infections can affect your ability to conceive. Autoimmune diseases like diabetes mellitus, abdominal diseases, sexual transmitted diseases, cancer, and stress can also cause female infertility.
Age is the major cause that leads to female infertility. The chances of becoming pregnant will be more in early twenty’s and decreases as you age. It decreases gradually after thirty-five years. In this stage, the quantity and quality of the eggs decreases where the chances of fertilization reduces.
Weight is another cause for female fertilization. An abnormal weight (overweight or underweight) can lessen your chances of successful ovulation. Without ovulation, you cannot become pregnant.
However, there are several treatment options for female infertility. It includes nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental, drug therapies, hormone replacement therapy, surgeries, In vitro fertilization, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART).