Female Infertility

Couples are considered to have infertility problems if they have been unable to conceive after a prolonged period, usually a year, of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility may be attributed to the man, the woman, or both partners. When a female cause of infertility is determined, which occurs about one-third of the time, there are many measures that can be taken to help the couple conceive.

Risk Factors for Female Infertility

Women may be at increased risk of infertility if they:

  • Menstruate irregularly or not at all
  • Are older than 40 years of age
  • Have undergone cancer treatments
  • Have had more than one miscarriage
  • Exercise excessively or have an eating disorder
  • Are extremely obese
  • Smoke or drink alcohol to excess

Some women may want to be evaluated for infertility because they are already aware of an underlying anatomical anomaly or disease condition preventing conception.

Causes of Female Infertility

Female infertility may have a number of causes. Although the cause in a particular case may remain unknown, the following are possible reasons a woman may have trouble conceiving:

  • Ovulation disorders, endometriosis, or pelvic adhesions
  • Certain medications
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Damage to, or blockage of, the fallopian tubes
  • Early menopause (before 40 years of age)
  • Thyroid disorders, celiac disease or diabetes
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Congenital or other disorders of the reproductive tract

Fallopian tube blockage is frequently the result of pelvic inflammatory disease, usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease.

Diagnosis of Female Infertility

In order to determine the cause of female infertility, the patient may undergo blood tests and urinalysis to check or monitor:

  • Hormone levels
  • Adrenal Function

Support For Female Infertility

Support for female infertility is designed to maximize the fertility potential and allow for successful conception. Depending on the determined cause of female infertility, recommendations for increasing fertility may include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Supplementation
  • Nutritional assessment & adjustment
  • Functional testing


Additional Resources

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