If after a year of regular sexual activity without any contraception a woman doesn’t get pregnant, an infertility may be diagnosed. Woman is the main reason of it in more than 35% of cases. Female infertility can be absolute, if the pregnancy is impossible and relative, if the probability of pregnancy still exists, but is significantly reduced. There are various reasons that cause female infertility. Let’s review them in turn.
The ability of women to get pregnant is not maintained on the same level throughout a whole life. There is a direct correlation between the age and frequency of infertility cases. In the age of 18-29 the frequency of infertility cases is 10%, increasing to 15% and 20% after 35 years and 40 years respectively. Thus, women’s fertility begins to decline drastically after 35. This happens due to the increased chromosomes destruction that influences the eggs of elderly women.
Many reasons of infertility stem from different gynecological problems but, fortunately, they are treatable. The main gynecological problems include:
1. Endometriosis. This is a condition in which the endometrium of uterus grows outside its cavity. It is considered to be a leading cause of female infertility. The most frequent manifestation of the disease is painful irregular menstruation and miscarriage is the result of the disease. The main solution is a surgical removal of the excessive tissue. After such operation the conception occurs in 40% of cases within 1-1.5 years. Patients are also recommended to apply additional reproductive technologies.
2. Problems with ovulation. This means that a mature egg cannot leave the ovary because of certain hormonal dysfunctions. Absent or irregular menstruation, accompanied by abundant or, on the contrary, poor discharge are the main symptoms. A possible solution is taking drugs aimed at stimulation of ovulation and in vitro fertilization.
3. Poor quality of eggs. Chromosomal abnormalities or egg damage usually cause it. It occurs at the age of 37-40 years most often. In such cases, the use donated eggs may be a good solution allowing a woman get pregnant in 43% of cases.
4. Polycystic ovaries. There are numerous small cysts on the ovary surface causing a hormonal imbalance that prevents a regular ovulation. The most common symptoms include an increased hair growth, irregular menstruation, pimples on the skin, weight gain. Drugs that stimulate ovulation are prescribed in such cases. As a result, about 70% of women taking these drugs get pregnant during 6-9 months. Nevertheless, approximately 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
5. Tubal obstruction. This pathology blocks the way of egg from the ovary to the uterus. The disease may develop as a result of inflammation processes in the pelvic area and genital infections. To eliminate the obstruction a special surgical operation is performed to restore the patency of tubes. Depending on the degree of the restored patency and a number of postoperative scars, the conception rate varies from 10% to 70%. If the operation appeared to be unsuccessful, in vitro fertilization is recommended.
6. Fibroid uterine tumors. Benign tumors of the uterus often prevent a fertilized egg from fixing on the uterus walls. Very often tumors block the fallopian tubes.
7. Post-operational adhesions and scarring may also be responsible for female infertility.
Psychological factors of infertility
Female infertility is often associated with violations in the emotional sphere. Stress is one of the main reasons of psychological infertility triggering the development of many diseases and increasing susceptibility to them. Chronic stress leads to a hidden depression, suppresses the immune system, increases susceptibility to infections and promotes different kinds of dysfunctions.
Negative external psychological factors may be the reason of infertility too. For example, unstable relations between the partners, lack of confidence in a partner, lack of accommodation or job usually refer to such negative factors. Sometimes an excessive focus on the career growth is a psychological obstacle of getting pregnant.
A fear of childbirth may be a strong psychological factor for many women. It is accompanied by a subconscious inhibition of hormonal processes necessary for normal pregnancy.
Another type of infertility is the infertility caused by a psychological tension. It is a result of a prolonged absence of pregnancy along with a great desire to have children. The fear that this dream will not come true inhibits and blocks all processes necessary for conception. Often women spend years treating their imagined infertility and then easily get pregnant having stopped any attempts to recover. Such phenomena are treated using special techniques of psychotherapy.
Incompatibility in marriage
There are cases when both partners are completely healthy and demonstrate a desire to have children, but a woman doesn’t get pregnant. A woman cannot get pregnant from a particular man, but with the other partner, the pregnancy occurs quickly. This situation is called a conception incompatibility. There are two types of such incompatibility.
Immune incompatibility. It occurs when blood group and Rh factor are incompatible. In this case, a woman’s organism produces antibodies to the sperm of her partner causing an allergic reaction to the sperm of a particular man. It is believed that the greater is the number of sexual partners of a woman, the higher is the risk of such antibodies emergence. The woman also cannot get pregnant in case of Rh-conflict, i.e. if the partners have different Rh factors.
Genetic incompatibility. It is detected when a child with serious hereditary diseases is born in a healthy couple.
Lifestyle and unfavorable job conditions may also cause female infertility. A prolonged contact with toxic chemicals, radiation, and high temperature negatively affect the ability to get pregnant. In addition, coffee, cigarettes and alcohol consumption is not the factor that promotes a rapid pregnancy.
Female infertility may be caused by the diseases that do not belong to the group of gynecological ones. Problems with the thyroid gland, which is involved in hormones production, occupy a leading position. Both insufficient and excessive number of hormones considerably affect the menstrual cycle, causing infertility.
Malignant tumors often cause infertility too. Cancer treatment by means of chemotherapy and radiation therapy also exerts a negative impact on the ability to get pregnant. Apart from that, infertility may be caused by diseases associated with a sluggish puberty or amenorrhea. It is Cushing’s disease and sickle-cell anemia. Diabetes and kidney diseases affect the women’s organism negatively and may be a reason of infertility too.
A total amount of fat in the organism also affects a woman’s ability to conceive. Fat cells are directly involved in the synthesis of estrogen. Small or excessive weight may cause menstrual irregularities and therefore affect the pregnancy.