Female infertility is an inability to get pregnant and have a successful pregnancy. This is typically diagnosed after a woman has tried to get pregnant (through unprotected sex) for 12 months without a pregnancy.
Female infertility, male infertility or a combination of the two affects millions of couples. An estimated 10 to 18 percent of couples have trouble getting pregnant or having a successful delivery.
Infertility is a disease in which the ability to get pregnant and give birth to a child is impaired or limited in some way. For heterosexual couples (man and woman), this is usually diagnosed after one year of trying to get pregnant (but maybe diagnosed sooner depending on other factors).
For heterosexual couples, one-third of the causes of infertility are due to a male problem, one-third is due to female problems, and one-third is due to a combination or unknown reasons.
When the cause of the infertility is found to come from the female partner, it’s considered female infertility or “female factor” infertility.
If a woman keeps having miscarriages, it is also called infertility. Female infertility can result from age, physical problems, hormone problems, and lifestyle or environmental factors.
Most cases of infertility in women result from problems with producing eggs. In primary ovarian insufficiency, the ovaries stop functioning before natural menopause. In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries may not release an egg regularly or they may not release a healthy egg.
As a woman ages, her chances of becoming pregnant decrease. Age is becoming a more common factor in female infertility because many couples are waiting to have children until their 30s or 40s. Women over age 35 have a higher risk of having fertility issues. The reasons for this include:
- The overall number of eggs is lower.
- More eggs have an abnormal number of chromosomes.
- An increased risk of other health conditions
Symptoms Of Female Infertility
The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. A menstrual cycle that’s too long (35 days or more), too short (less than 21 days), irregular or absent can mean that you’re not ovulating. There may be no other outward signs or symptoms.
Risk factors Of Female Infertility
Certain factors may put you at higher risk of infertility, including:
- The quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs begin to decline with increasing age. In the mid-30s, the rate of follicle loss speeds, resulting in fewer and poorer quality eggs. This makes conception more difficult and increases the risk of miscarriage.
- Besides damaging your cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking increases your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It’s also thought to age your ovaries and deplete your eggs prematurely. Stop smoking before beginning fertility treatment.
- Being overweight or significantly underweight may affect normal ovulation. Getting to a healthy body mass index (BMI) may increase the frequency of ovulation and the likelihood of pregnancy.
- Sexual history. Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can damage the fallopian tubes. Having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners increases your risk of a sexually transmitted infection that may cause fertility problems later.
- Stick to moderate alcohol consumption of no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
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