If you and your partner have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant after one year of trying, you are not alone; infertility is a common problem in the United States, affecting about 10% to 15% of couples. Infertility may be due to issues with you or your partner or a combination of factors hindering pregnancy. Fortunately, Bedford CARE Fertility offers many safe and effective therapies to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Below are some reasons a woman may have problems getting pregnant or carrying the pregnancy to term.
Failure to ovulate
Approximately 40% of women with infertility do not ovulate; this is the most common overall cause of female infertility. Women may fail to ovulate due to ovarian or gynecological conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or primary ovarian insufficiency. Sometimes it is due to normal aging, which causes a decrease in the number and quality of eggs in a woman’s ovaries (diminished ovarian reserve). Failure to ovulate can also stem from hormone imbalance due to endocrine disorders such as thyroid disease or problems with the hypothalamus.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining the uterine cavity grows outside the uterus, affecting the function of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. There is a link between endometriosis and infertility, with evidence showing that 25% to 50% of infertile women have endometriosis. The exact cause of infertility in women with endometriosis is unknown, but there are several theories on how this condition causes infertility.
Endometriosis can cause structural changes in the female reproductive organs; for example, scar tissues may form between nearby structures, such as the ovary and pelvic wall, obstructing and affecting egg release. If the scarring occurs in the fallopian tube, it can block egg movement.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that form inside the uterine wall; they range in size from small ones undetectable to the eyes to large ones that distort the shape of the uterus. Scientists are yet to establish the cause of fibroids, but it is believed that there may be a genetic basis.
Fibroids are most likely to cause fertility issues if they grow inside the uterine cavity or are larger than six centimeters in diameter. A woman can have infertility issues if the fibroids change the position of the cervix; this can reduce the number of sperm that enter the uterus. Fibroids can also alter the shape of the uterus, interfering with sperm movement or implantation. They can also block the fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from reaching the egg. Fibroid can also interfere with blood flow to the uterus, preventing the embryo from implanting.
If left untreated, sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes scarring that blocks the fallopian tubes. Untreated syphilis makes it more likely for a pregnant woman to have a stillbirth.
Surgical treatment of cervical lesions associated with human papillomavirus can also affect the quality or lower the amount of cervical mucus, making it difficult for women to get pregnant.
If you are struggling with infertility, visit your specialist at CARE Fertility for a diagnosis to establish the cause of your infertility.