Infertility refers to the failed attempts at pregnancy despite at least one year of frequent intercourse for the purpose. Women usually have no outward symptoms of infertility beyond the usual associations of a too long (35 days or more) or a too short (less than 21 days) menstrual cycle as well as either an irregular or an absent menstrual cycle. Some effective infertility treatments are available to enable pregnancy.
Let’s first understand the factors and process of pregnancy, to understand the causes of female infertility. Four factors must be present in order for pregnancy to occur:
* Ovulation. The woman’s ovaries should produce and release an egg, which the sperm can then fertilize.
* Female reproductive organs. The woman should have a normal uterus and open fallopian tubes.
* Sperm. The man should have healthy sperm in terms of quality and quantity.
* Intercourse. The couple should have regular intercourse during the woman’s fertile days.
But that’s not all. Every step in the complex human reproduction process must occur in the right manner for the pregnancy to occur and carry to its full term, said steps of which can be summarized as follows. Also see http://pregnancymiraclerevealed.com for a review of these issues.
* The mature egg is released by one of the two ovaries.
* The fallopian tube picks up the egg.
* The sperm is released by the man, swims up to the cervix and the uterus, and then meets the egg in the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized.
* The fertilized egg then travels through the fallopian tube and implants itself in the wall of the uterus.
In many women, the process becomes disrupted by several factors that eventually lead to repeated failure to conceive. Keep in mind that only one factor is necessary for infertility to become possible although many women may have two or more odds stacked against them.
First, in approximately 25% of infertile couples, the woman has ovulation disorders caused by flaws in the production and regulation of the reproductive hormones or by issues in the ovaries. These ovulation disorders fall under many categories including:
* Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) refers to the medical condition wherein changes in the ovaries, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus result in hormone imbalance affecting ovulation.
* Hypothalamic dysfunction pertains to the disruption in the production of hormones responsible for ovulation, said hormones of which are produced in the pituitary gland. Its usual causes include extreme physical and psychological stress, very low or very high body weight, and recent substantial weight gain or weight loss.
* Premature ovarian insufficiency results in the loss of the ovaries to produce eggs that, in turn, was caused by the body’s immune system attacking the ovarian tissues or by genetic problems or by environmental factors like chemotherapy.
Second, female infertility can also be caused by damage to the fallopian tubes. The damage, which can also be a blockage, prevents the sperm from getting into the egg or the fertilized egg from getting into the uterus.
The fallopian tubes can be damaged by a wide variety of factors. These include pelvic inflammatory disease caused by sexually transmitted infections; surgery on the abdomen or pelvis such as in ectopic pregnancy; and pelvic tuberculosis (rare in the United States).
Third, endometriosis wherein the uterine tissue grows in other locations aside from the uterus. The extra tissue and its surgical removal results in scars that prevent the sperm and egg from meeting up, so to speak. Even in cases when the fertilized egg forms, it is unable to successfully implant in the uterus, thus, the failure to conceive to its full term.
Of course, only a qualified fertility specialist has the techniques, tools and technologies to address female infertility so medical consultations are necessary.