For a pregnancy to occur, every step in the reproduction process has to happen correctly. In a woman, a number of factors can disrupt this process.
The most common causes of female infertility include:
A woman’s age: The most important factor influencing a woman’s chance of conceiving is her age. As a woman ages, the number of healthy eggs produced declines, especially after the age of 36.
Tubal disease or problems with the fallopian tubes: If a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, this may prevent the sperm meeting the egg.
Endometriosis: Endometriosis affects about 10-20% of women of reproductive age. It occurs when the endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus, implants and grows outside the uterus in the ovaries, fallopian tubes or bladder.
Ovulatory problems: Woman who don’t ovulate often have irregular or no periods.
PCOS: A hormonal condition, associated with irregular ovulation, increased androgen activity and insulin resistance. This is the most common cause of female infertility.
Fibroids: Fibroids are benign polyps or tumours that are common in the uterus, however some types can interfere with fertility by blocking the fallopian tubes or disrupting implantations.
Diagnosis of female infertility
A combination of blood tests and ultrasound scans can help identify issues, such as PCOS or endometriosis, and ensure you’re ovulating normally. Find out more about female fertility tests.
Treatment for female infertility
The results of both the female and male fertility investigations along with the couple’s history are taken into consideration when making a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. The treatment required might be something simple such as ovulation induction or something more complex, such as IVF.
When to seek help?
If you have a medical history of conditions that affect the female reproductive system, or you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months (or 6 months if you're over 35) without success we recommend you book an appointment with a fertility specialist.