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What is Female Infertility?

Female infertility refers to the inability of a woman to conceive or carry a pregnancy to full term despite having regular, unprotected sexual intercourse for an extended period, typically one year for women under 35 and six months for women over 35. Infertility can result from various factors, including:

Ovulation disorders

Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothalamic dysfunction, or premature ovarian failure can disrupt the ovulation process, leading to irregular or absent menstrual cycles and difficulty in conceiving.

Genetic factors

Some cases of infertility may have a genetic basis, either due to inherited conditions affecting reproductive organs or genetic abnormalities impacting fertility.

Uterine or cervical abnormalities

Structural abnormalities in the uterus or cervix can interfere with implantation or hinder sperm from reaching the egg. Conditions such as uterine fibroids, polyps, or cervical stenosis can contribute to infertility.

Age-related decline in fertility

As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs decline, making it more challenging to conceive. Advanced maternal age increases the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in offspring.


Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can cause inflammation, scarring, and distortion of pelvic anatomy, leading to infertility.

Unhealthy lifestyle factors

Factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, and high levels of stress can negatively impact fertility by affecting hormone levels, ovulation, and reproductive function.

Fallopian tube blockage or damage

Blockages or damage to the fallopian tubes can prevent the egg from being fertilized or reaching the uterus for implantation. Causes may include pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or previous surgeries.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or untreated sexually transmitted infections can affect fertility.


It is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS affects the ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone, as well as regulate the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms of Female Infertility

  • Irregular Periods: Irregular menstrual cycles may indicate the presence of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can contribute to infertility.
  • Painful Periods: Many women experience cramps for a day or two during their periods, which is typically manageable. Such symptoms could indicate the presence of endometriosis, a significant marker for infertility.
  • Hormone Fluctuations: Hormonal fluctuations can often be subtle and nonspecific. Some hormonal issues can be diagnosed through medical testing conducted by a doctor.
  • Painful Sexual Intercourse: Some women feel pain during sexual intercourse. However, this discomfort may be linked to hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, or other conditions that could contribute to female infertility.
  • Vaginal Discharge: Irregular vaginal discharge serves as a subtle yet significant marker of potential female infertility. Alterations in its texture, hue, or odor could signify underlying issues warranting attention.

Diagnosis of Female Infertility

The initial stage in fertility treatment involves identifying the factors contributing to infertility. Various fertility tests may be employed to confirm an infertility diagnosis in women. When conducting infertility tests, physicians typically begin with a physical examination of the patient and inquire about her medical history and lifestyle. Additionally, one or more of the following tests may be recommended:

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

It involves injecting a liquid dye into the uterus via the vagina. X-ray images are then taken to track the movement of the dye through the fallopian tubes. If there is an obstruction, the dye will be unable to pass through, indicating a potential issue.

Ovarian Reserve Testing

This test is performed to assess the ovarian reserve, indicating the quantity of eggs available for ovulation. Typically conducted at the onset of the menstrual cycle, it helps evaluate reproductive potential.

Imaging Tests

The pelvic ultrasound test is employed to identify potential uterine or ovarian disorders. It is particularly useful for detecting uterine conditions that may not be visible on a standard ultrasound.

Other Hormonal Testing

This step involves assessing levels of ovulatory hormones as well as pituitary hormones that play a crucial role in reproductive processes.

Female Infertility Treatment

After diagnosing infertility and identifying its cause, your healthcare provider will propose potential treatment options tailored to your specific situation. The choice of treatment depends on the underlying cause of infertility. Some of these treatment options include:


Laparoscopy enables the identification of fertility issues that might otherwise escape detection such as mild endometriosis and pelvic adhesions,...Read More


During a hysteroscopy, the hysteroscope is gently guided through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope contains a camera that transmits images...Read More

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

During IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory dish...Read More

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

In IUI treatment, sperm is directly inserted into a woman's uterus during ovulation. The goal of IUI is to increase the chances of fertilization by placing sperm closer to the fallopian tubes...Read More

Third-party reproduction, including surrogacy

It involves individuals or couples utilizing a third party, such as a surrogate mother or a sperm or egg donor, to assist in the conception and/or gestation of a child...Read More

Female Infertility Related FAQ

Women are typically born with around 2 million eggs in their ovaries. Prior to puberty, approximately 11,000 eggs perish each month. Consequently, by the time a girl reaches her teenage years, she's left with roughly 300,000 to 400,000 eggs. As she ages, about 1000 eggs are utilized each month, independent of factors such as birth control, pregnancy, hormone production, health, lifestyle, or nutritional supplements. Ultimately, menopause occurs when a woman exhausts her egg supply.

Yes, lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, poor diet, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins can impact fertility in women.

While not all causes of female infertility can be prevented, adopting a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and seeking timely medical care for reproductive health issues can help reduce the risk of infertility.

Common causes of female infertility include hormonal imbalances, ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine abnormalities, and age-related factors.

Female infertility is diagnosed through a series of medical tests, including hormone level testing, ovarian reserve testing, imaging studies (ultrasound, hysterosalpingography), and laparoscopy to evaluate the pelvic organs.

Female infertility affects approximately 10-15% of couples worldwide. It is a widespread issue that can significantly impact individuals and couples seeking to conceive.