An Expert Answers 10 Common Female Infertility Questions
There are certain female infertility questions that pop up more frequently than others, especially when people are starting to research infertility. Here’s a list of questions that most people ask first.
1. What is infertility?
Female infertility is defined as a woman not being able to get pregnant after one year of well-timed intercourse, if she’s under 35 and 6 months of well-timed intercourse, if she’s over 35. As women get older, fewer eggs are available to conceive, so it’s best to start fertility treatment with the best quality eggs. If a woman is under 35 and can get pregnant, but experiences multiple miscarriages – this is also considered to be a cause of infertility.
2. Who gets female infertility?
Approximately 30% of infertility cases come from women and 30% of infertility cases come from men. However, 40% of infertility cases come from both partners contributing to the issue of not being able to conceive. The majority of women experiencing infertility are over 35 and have not given birth to a child. Also, there is a small group of women who have given birth to their first child but can’t conceive after their first born. This is called secondary infertility.
3. What are the risk factors for female infertility?
Some of the risk factors for female infertility are: age, stress, poor diet, athletic training, being over or underweight, smoking, alcohol use, STDs, tubal disease, endometriosis, DES exposure, disease treatment that can damage the reproductive system (like chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment), and health problems that cause hormonal changes.
4. What causes infertility in women?
The leading cause of infertility in women are problems with ovulation and egg quality. Regular ovulation with good quality eggs is one of the most vital steps to achieving a successful pregnancy. Other conditions that can cause infertility are blocked fallopian tubes caused by PID, endometriosis or a previous ectopic pregnancy. Physical problems with the uterus, especially uterine fibroids can also create issues but are less common.
5. What are the signs and symptoms of female infertility?
Often there are no signs or symptoms. The woman has no idea she is infertile until she tries to get pregnant. Generally, she’s been trying not to get pregnant for many years and has succeeded. Since ovulation problems are the leading cause of female infertility the signs of ovulation problems, like irregular or absent periods or very painful periods, are good indicators that female infertility might be a problem.
6. How does age affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant?
Women’s most fertile years are before the age of 30. That’s when her egg quality is still good, egg supply is still adequate, and her ovaries are releasing eggs regularly. This is the reason that most egg donor programs will only accept women up to age 29.
After a woman turns 30 her egg quality decreases. She is more likely to have a