Infertility is defined as a couple's inability to become pregnant after one year of regular sex while not using any birth control. Female infertility means the does not conceive because of female factors.
Certain events must take place in a woman's body for pregnancy to occur: ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovarythe uniting of the egg and a man's sperm (fertilization or conception)attachment of the embryo to the lining of the uterus
Factors that interfere with these events are known as female factors.
The inability to get pregnant may be caused by conditions in either partner. It is estimated that 30% of infertility is caused by male factors. An additional 30% is caused by female factors. The remaining 40% is caused by a combination of female and male factors.
Female infertility occurs when the woman does not conceive after one year of attempting to become pregnant. Other signs and symptoms depend on the underlying cause of the woman's infertility.
There are many female factors that can make a couple unable to become pregnant. These may include conditions such as the following: certain inherited conditionsendometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the bodyhormone imbalances, such as hypothyroidismpolycystic ovarian syndrome (CPOS), a condition that interferes with normal release of eggs
Diseases also can be a factor in infertility, for example: autoimmune disorders, in which the body produces antibodies to fetal tissuediseases such as diabeteseating disorders, such as anorexia nervosapelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of the female pelvic organssexually transmitted disease, such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea
Additional factors in infertility include the following: chronic vaginal dischargecongenital abnormalities of the uterusectopic pregnancy, or implanting of the fertilized egg outside the uterusemotional stressexcess caffeine and alcohol intakeexcess weight loss or weight gainexposure to diethylstilbestrol, also known as DES, as an infant in uteroirregular periods or menstrual cyclesprevious elective surgical abortion or elective medical abortionscarring of the fallopian tubes from abdominal or pelvic surgerysmokingstrenuous exercisetotal lack of menstruation (amenorrhea)two or more previous miscarriagesuterine fibroids or polyps
Women over the age of 35 are more likely to be infertile.
Some cases of female infertility may be prevented by taking the following steps: Avoid excessive exercise.Avoid smoking.Control diseases such as diabetes and hypothyroidism. Follow good weight management guidelines.Get early treatment for sexually transmitted infections or diseases.Have regular physical examinations to detect early signs of infections or abnormalities.Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.Practice stress management.
Diagnosis of infertility begins with a medical history and physical exam. The healthcare provider may order tests, including the following: an endometrial biopsy, which tests the lining of the uterushormone testing, to measure levels of female hormoneslaparoscopy, which allows the provider to see the pelvic organsovulation testing, which detects the release of an egg from the ovaryPap smear, to check for signs of infectionpelvic exam, to look for abnormalities or infectiona postcoital test, which is done after sex to check for problems with secretionsspecial X-ray testssperm count and motility in the male partner
Infertility can create tension in a couple's relationship. Sexual relations may become less pleasurable. Fertility evaluations can be expensive. Eventually, 85% of couples find a cause for their inability to conceive. However, some couples never become pregnant, even with the newest treatments. Adoption may be the best choice in some cases.
Female infertility is not contagious. However, infertility can be caused by a sexually-transmitted disease, which may be transmitted to sexual partners.
Treatment of infertility will depend on the cause. Without treatment, 15% to 20% of affected couples will eventually become pregnant. Treatment for female factors may include: eating a healthy dietexercising in moderationhaving surgery to treat certain problems, such as endometriosislearning about the best time to conceivelimiting caffeine and alcohol intakemaking lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessationtaking antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseasestaking medications to cause ovulation, such as clomiphene (i.e., Clomid, Serophene) and menotropins
If these treatments don't work, other means of fertilization may be considered, such as: artificial insemination. This involves placing sperm directly in the cervix or uterus.intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This involves placing individual sperm cells directly inside the woman's eggs.in vitro fertilization. This involves fertilizing the egg outside the womb and then returning it to the uterus.
Following are some of the side effects of medications used to cause ovulation: abdominal pressure or fullnesscysts on the ovariesheadacheshot flashesmood changesmultiple pregnancies, such as twins or tripletsovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which causes fluid shifts in the body
Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, and rash. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and reaction to anesthesia.
Within a year after infertility is diagnosed, 80% to 85% of couples who have treatment get pregnant. It may take several attempts before a couple gets pregnant. Partners must decide how many and what kind of procedures they are willing to undertake.
Should a pregnancy occur after treatment, early pregnancy testing can be done. The woman will have regular prenatal visits to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the health care provider.