Female infertility is quite common, which is not surprising given the complex set of events that must occur in order to give birth. A woman’s body must:
- Have a good reserve of healthy eggs
- Mature the eggs properly within the ovaries at the right time and pace
- Have clear fallopian tubes so that both the egg and sperm can enter and meet
- Develop a plush lining in the uterus at the right time to welcome an embryo
- Allow proper implantation of the embryo
- Fully nourish the fetus throughout its development
- Carry it for the full term
It is a complicated process that does not always go as planned. However, our physicians, along with cutting-edge technology and advanced medical techniques, can help resolve a large number of fertility issues.
Causes & Treatment
Countless factors affect fertility in women. Some of the most common include:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS interrupts the maturation and release of eggs. It is characterized by infrequent periods, weight gain, male pattern hair growth and/or balding along with other symptoms. A number of options may be included as part of treatment, such as medications, diet and exercise and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Endometriosis: Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside of it. It can result in fallopian tube scarring, pelvic inflammation and pain, and other complications. Treatment may include surgery or IVF.
Blood-clotting Disorders: Excessive clotting is associated with recurrent miscarriage as well as slow fetal growth and high blood pressure. Treatment frequently includes blood-thinning medication.
Age: A woman’s fertility starts to decline after age 30. As a result, the chance of genetic mutations and fetal abnormalities increases. Treatment most often involves testing each embryo to determine whether all of its chromosomes are normal.
Adenomyosis: This condition occurs when endometrial tissue, which lines the uterus, grows into the outer muscular tissue of the uterus causing structural issues. Treatment includes medication and occasionally, surgery.
Cancer: The disease itself, along with treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, can greatly diminish or damage sperm and eggs. To prevent this, many patients freeze their eggs or sperm for future use prior to receiving cancer treatment.
Lifestyle: Everyone’s fertility is affected to some degree by lifestyle. Some choices enhance the ability to get pregnant while others reduce it. Being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, being sedentary and even exposure to some plastics can all decrease fertility. Treatment includes proper diet, weight loss, moderate exercise, and avoiding harmful substances (see www.lifechoicesandfertility.com).