Causes of Female Infertility
The team at Dallas Forth Worth Fertility Associates understands the discouragement and disappointment that comes along with infertility. Our fellowship trained reproductive endocrinologists Dr. Samuel Chantilis, Dr. Karen Lee, Dr. Mika Thomas, Dr. Ravi Gada and Dr. Laura Lawrence are experts on identifying and overcoming infertility obstacles that separate patients from parenthood.
50/50 Causes of Infertility
You need three things in order to become pregnant; ovulation, viable sperm and regular intercourse. When one of those is not functioning properly you may find yourself facing infertility. Causes can lie with either the man or woman and in some cases involves both partners. Female infertility factors account for 50 percent of all infertility cases. Understanding and diagnosing the cause of infertility is half the battle when working toward a successful treatment plan. Educating yourself on the causes of infertility will help when asking questions and discussing diagnosis and treatment with us.
The most common causes of female infertility fall mainly into two categories; hormonal and anatomical.
Hormonal Causes of Female Infertility
Hormones play a crucial role in every step of a successful pregnancy. Lack of ovulation or infrequent ovulation is a common cause of infertility in women. This irregular ovulation is the direct result of too much or too little of the hormones that control our sex organs. Conditions, factors and syndromes that affect ovulation include:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which causes the body to produce an excess of the male sex hormone androgen.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea, a condition in which menstruation stops for several months due to a problem involving the part of the brain that stimulates hormone production
Hyperprolactinemia that cause the pituitary to release too much prolactin, a hormone that affects estrogen levels
Primary ovarian insufficiency in which menopause occurs before the age of 40
Anatomical Reasons for Female Infertility
In addition to the complicated hormonal process of our bodies, there are also factors that involve the anatomy of the female reproductive system. These include:
Endometriosis, a condition where endometrial tissue (the uterine lining) grows outside the uterus causing heavy and painful periods and is a culprit of recurrent miscarriage.
Uterine Fibroids which are benign or non-cancerous growths of tissue in the muscular layer of the uterus that makes it difficult for an embryo to implant and grow.
Uterine septum is a result of a congenital malformation, or uterine birth defect, in women where the uterine cavity is divided by a wedge-like partition of tissue. This condition is associated with a higher risk for miscarriage.
Diseases of the Fallopian Tubes like pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis can cause the tube to be blocked or swollen, interfering with the tubes ability to transport a fertilized egg to the uterus.
Age can also be a factor of infertility. As our bodies get older (35+), a women’s supply of eggs decreases and fertility begins to diminish.
Pelvic adhesions or scar tissue in the pelvis can impair fertility. This scar tissue may form after a pelvic infection, appendicitis or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
Infertility can also be unexplained or secondary.
Some causes of infertility are not as clear cut. Unexplained infertility, where no know reason is found, is the most treatable and the most frustrating type of infertility. Couples also may face secondary infertility, where they have had previous success conceiving children, but there has been a new development that now stands in the way of pregnancy.
Whatever the cause, Dallas Fort Worth Fertility Associates are here for you.
Filtering through the many causes of female infertility can be overwhelming. You are not alone. If you suspect you may be facing infertility issues and have questions, please contact us to set up an appointment. We are passionate about making parenthood a reality for our patients.