How is female infertility defined and what are the possible causes
How could this be happening to you
On this page we will help you explore female infertility:
Definition of Female Infertility
Female Infertility is defined when you have been actively trying to conceive through unprotected intercourse or other methods for over a year without success.
Why aren’t you falling pregnant
This can be an emotional, frustrating and upsetting time in your life.
There are a number of reasons why you may not be falling pregnant.
Common causes of female infertility include:
Miss-understanding of ovulation cycle (when you are ovulating)
Not ovulating at all
Undiagnosed polycystic ovary syndrome known as PCOS – See help centre below
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition in which a woman’s ovaries are generally larger than average. Symptoms may include, irregular (less frequent) menstrual cycles, cysts on the ovaries and follicles that rarely grow to maturity or produce eggs capable of being fertilised. PCOS affects 12 to 18 per cent of women of reproductive age (between late adolescence and menopause). 70% per cent of the time PCOS remains undiagnosed.
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the womb (uterus), grows outside the uterus. In some cases this may cause fibrous scar tissue to form on the uterus and may also affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the bowel. Endometriosis may cause very painful periods and reduce fertility or cause infertility.
Definition with the help of State Government of Victoria – Better Health Channel.
Ovulation problems causing Female Infertility
Did you know only 30% of fertility problems are female related
For ovulation to occur your glands and hormones must be working together to trigger your menstrual cycle. Your hypothalamus (see Dr. Myran’s help centre below) prompts your pituitary gland to secrete hormones to trigger your ovaries to ripen your eggs. Irregular or infrequent periods may indicate that ovulation is not occurring properly.
The hypothalamus is a section of the brain that controls hormone production. The hormones produced help your body control a number of functions including but not limited to temperature, thirst, hunger, sleep and heart rhythm.
The pituitary gland (also found in your brain and is about the size of a pea) produces many different hormones and secretes them into your bloodstream. One of its functions is to trigger the menstrual cycle.
Definition assistance thanks to – Healthline.
How does age affect female infertility
Age is a significant factor in female fertility. As you age the chances of you falling pregnant decline.
The following statistics are a useful guide to female fertility, but remember, every individual is different.
Age 20 to 24
The average woman’s fertility peaks at the age of 24. Women aged in this bracket have approximately a 96 percent chance of conceiving in a year if they’re trying to fall pregnant. Please note that male infertility issues may also play a role in falling pregnant (30% of infertility issues are male related).
Age 25 to 34
You have approximately an 86% chance of falling pregnant from age 25 to 34 after trying for a year.
Age 35 to 39
At the age of 35 a woman’s fertility seems to significantly decline. There is also a potential higher risk of miscarriage and chromosomal defects.
Some studies indicate that most women aged between 35 to 39 have a 15% to 20% chance of getting pregnant in a given month. This could mean a 78 percent chance of conceiving within the year.
Age 40 to 44
With advancing age, studies have shown egg quality and quantity decline. In the 40 to 44 age bracket it’s harder to conceive and to stay pregnant. The uterine lining thins and blood supply to it decreases with age, making it more difficult for the egg to implant.
The chance of pregnancy for a woman aged 40 years and over is only five per cent per menstrual cycle. Ageing eggs are thought to be the cause.
45 and over
At the age of 45, a woman’s likelihood of getting pregnant is no more than 3% or 4% percent.
Definitions with the help of State Government of Victoria – Better Health Channel.
Did you know women are born with their entire egg supply and, as time passes, these eggs become less viable!
Fallopian tubes problems causing female Infertility
The fallopian tube is where the sperm travels up to fertilise the egg. A scarred or blocked fallopian tube may inhibit the eggs progress, preventing it from meeting up and being fertilised by the sperm.
Female infertility being caused by problems with the uterus
The uterus is where the fertilised egg lodges itself. Problems within the uterus may hamper implantation. These may include:
- Fibroids – Non-malignant tumours inside the womb.
- Polyps – Overgrowths of the endometrium (the membrane lining the womb, which thickens during the menstrual cycle in preparation for possible implantation of an embryo), which can be prompted by the presence of fibroids.
Cervical problems causing female infertility
In order to fertilise the egg, sperm must travel through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. Cervical mucus is usually thin and watery so that sperm can swim through it. However, if the cervical mucus is thick it can hinder the sperm on its journey to fertilise the egg.
How do we measure your fertility levels
The following tests may be undertaken to in order to determine your fertility levels:
- Physical examination
- Screening blood tests
- AMH Test (this blood test will indicate your egg reserve)
- Pelvic Ultrasound
- Minimally invasive keyhole surgery
- Tubal testing to determine if your fallopian tubes are open and working
Some rarer causes of infertility may be due to a genetic problem for which Dr. Myran will undertake more specific investigations to determine and explore fertility options for those genetic disorders.
What infertility treatments do we offer
As a fertility specialist, I don’t take a “one size fits all” approach to treating female infertility. I will ensure you understand your fertility treatment options so you can confidently choose the most appropriate action based on thorough investigation, assessment, expert clinical advice and what you and your partner feel comfortable with undertaking.
I have a sensitive and understanding approach to fertility. I will ensure you are guided through this emotional time to give you the best opportunity to start a family.
The right fertility treatment depend on the underlying cause of your infertility.
With over 20 years of fertility experience I have had great success
and specialise in:
Ovulation Induction treatment
Ovulation induction is often prescribed if you are irregularly ovulating or not ovulating. Sometimes it may be offered as an initial treatment rather than going straight into more complex courses of treatment such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
Ovulation induction involves a course of fertility medications (tablets or injections) to induce and enhance the ovulation process whilst being closely monitored by Dr Myran and timed intercourse.
Invitro Fertilisation (IVF)
IVF is a complex process where a patient will take stimulating hormone injections to create eggs. The eggs are then collected and fertilised with sperm outside the body to make embryos. The embryos are then transferred back into a females uterus in the hope to start a viable pregnancy. IVF is a closely monitored form of treatment and has various avenues of medications and regimes to suit the medical hurdles you may face.
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)
Intra uterine insemination involves a small amount of sperm being inseminated into a women’s uterus in the fallopian tubes where fertility takes place. An IUI enables a much easier path for the sperm and increases the chance of fertilisation.