Infertility in women
Infertility in women is the inability to get pregnant (until 24 months) despite having normal intercourse. The probable causes of female infertility are diagnosed and at present there are number of treatment options available too. Let’s have a look at the detailed approach of this topic.
What are the symptoms of infertility in women?
Inability to conceive despite having intercourse without protection is the most obvious sign of infertility. Otherwise, having too long or too short menstrual cycle might also signify infertility.
What causes infertility in women?
Several health complications can lead to female infertility. They are:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Premature ovarian insufficiency- autoimmune response against ovaries
- Premature ovarian failure- they stop functioning before menopause
- Hyperprolactinemia- secretion of too much prolactin
- Damage to fallopian tubes due to tumours, surgery etc.
- Polyp, tumours and fibroids in uterus and cervix
- Hormonal problems - menstrual imbalance due to dysfunction of pituitary glands
- Long-term chronic disease such as diabetes
Sometimes the reason behind infertility can never be diagnosed. This is known as unexplained infertility.
According to WebMd, “chances of having a baby decrease by 3% to 5% per year after the age of 30”. This is because the number and quality of eggs released by ovaries decreases with progression of reproductive age.
Diagnosis of infertility in women
Your doctor will ask you questions regarding your sexual life and evaluate the possible symptoms of infertility
- Blood tests for detecting hormonal (prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, etc.) levels
- Transvaginal ultrasonography to check the uterus and the vagina
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)- x ray of fallopian tube with a contrast dye, especially for endometriosis
- Laparoscopy to detect abnormality in pelvic organs like uterus, cervix and also for ovaries, and fallopian tubes
There are several lines of treatment options for female infertility which depend on the underlying cause, age and of course personal choice of the couple.
- Problems in ovaries can be resolved with drugs that can induce ovulation and restore normal ovulation ·
- Tubal surgeries, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy may be performed to remove growths, scar tissues, blockages and cysts from ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, etc.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) of the egg and the sperm. The fertilized embryo is implanted in the uterus
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)- direct placement of the sperm into uterus with a surgical instrument
- Using egg donation or resorting to surrogacy
A woman is much less vulnerable to become infertile if she can eliminate the risk factors and try to lead a normal and healthy lifestyle. It’s also important to get a fertility test done on experiencing trouble in getting pregnant. The earlier you get yourself diagnosed, the better are chances of regaining fertility or figuring out an alternate solution.
If medical treatments fail to restore infertility, then couples can resort to ARTs to bless themselves with a baby.
Date last updated: Feburary 04, 2014