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Causes, diagnosis, risks & treatment
Infertility is a condition that affects approximately 1 out of every 6 couples. An infertility diagnosis is given to a couple that has been unsuccessful in efforts to conceive over the course of one full year. When the cause of infertility exists within the female partner, it is referred to as female infertility. Female infertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases, and female infertility alone accounts for approximately one-third of all infertility cases.
The most common causes of female infertility include problems with ovulation, damage to fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix.
Age can contribute to infertility because as a woman ages, her fertility naturally tends to decrease.
Ovulation problems may be caused by one or more of the following:
Damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus can be caused by one or more of the following:
DES syndrome (The medication DES, given to women to prevent miscarriage or premature birth can result in fertility problems for their children.)
Abnormal cervical mucus can also cause infertility. Abnormal cervical mucus can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg or make it more difficult for the sperm to penetrate the egg.
Potential female infertility is assessed as part of a thorough physical exam. The exam will include a medical history regarding potential factors that could contribute to infertility.
Healthcare providers may use one or more of the following tests/exams to evaluate fertility:
There is usually nothing that can be done to prevent female infertility caused by genetic problems or illness.
However, there are several things that women can do to decrease the possibility of infertility:
Take steps to prevent sexually transmitted diseases