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Common Causes of Infertility in Women

Having trouble getting pregnant? It could be due to endometriosis, an ovulation disorder, problems with your fallopian tubes, or any of the other common causes of infertility in women. To make matters more confusing, for some women, there is no an apparent cause. However, this condition is often treatable. You may find that lifestyle changes, medication, or other options can help address whatever is causing your infertility.

Understanding Infertility

You desperately want to have a baby. Even though you and your partner have been actively trying to conceive, you've been unable to become pregnant. Now you're starting to consider the idea that you may have fertility problems.
Although infertility is the last word a couple wants to hear when they are hoping to have a child, it's important to understand that, in many cases, infertility is treatable. But the first step toward treatment is finding out what's making it so difficult for you to conceive. In this article, we'll go over some of the more common reasons behind infertility in women.
It might first help to understand a little more about the process of conception. For pregnancy to occur, an egg must mature and be released from a follicle, the sac inside the ovary that contains an egg. The released egg then travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. If along the way it meets up with a sperm, the sperm and egg join, creating a fertilized egg.
The fertilized egg continues its journey down the fallopian tube to the uterus. Once in the uterus, the egg attaches to the uterine wall (this is known as implantation), where it will eventually develop into a fetus. If something goes wrong at any point in this process, infertility can occur.
Medical providers define infertility as the inability to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected sex. It's not an entirely uncommon condition; about 10 percent to 15 percent of couples in the United States have problems getting or staying pregnant.
While no one is blaming one partner or the other, choosing the optimal treatment hinges on first identifying whether the infertility a couple is experiencing is due to female problems, male problems, or a combination of the two. In general, female infertility accounts for about one-third of infertility cases and male infertility for another one-third. The remaining one-third is due to either unknown causes or a combination of male and female factors.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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