There are a number of causes of female infertility such as age, physical problems, hormone problems, and lifestyle or environmental factors. Most cases of infertility in women result from problems with producing eggs.
In general, infertility means not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying, or 6 months if the woman is over age 35.
Infertility can happen in both men and women, but sometimes, the cause for infertility is unknown. So, what are the causes of infertility in females?
What are Causes of Infertility in Women?
The most common female infertility causes include problems with ovulation, damage to fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix. Age can also contribute to infertility because as a woman ages, her fertility naturally tends to decrease.
Ovulation problems may be caused by one or more of the following:
- Extremely brief menstrual cycles
- Excess weight
- Alcohol or drug use
- Tumors or cysts
- A hormone imbalance
- And more
Ovulating infrequently or not at all accounts for many female infertility cases. There are several ovulation disorders that can cause female infertility, such as:
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: This is caused by an autoimmune response or a premature loss of eggs from your ovary, which can be a result of genetics or chemotherapy.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This causes a hormone imbalance, which affects ovulation.
- Hypothalamic dysfunction: The pituitary gland produces two hormones that are responsible for stimulating monthly ovulation. There are many factors that can disrupt this production, including high or low body weight or a substantial weight gain or loss.
- Too much prolactin: Excess production of prolactin by the pituitary gland can lead to reduced estrogen production and cause female infertility. Certain medications may also be a cause of this issue.
Damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus can be caused by one or more of the following:
- A previous infection
- A birth defect
- Chronic medical illness
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Polyps in the uterus
- Scar tissue or adhesions
- And more
Abnormal cervical mucus can also cause female infertility, as it can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg or make it more difficult for the sperm to penetrate the egg.
How Common is Infertility in Females?
Infertility is a common disease among both females and males. In fact, at least 10% of women deal with infertility of some kind.
To help explain that infertility and causes of infertility in women are common, here are more helpful statistics and data:
- Around 33% of Americans have turned to fertility treatments to get pregnant, or know someone who has.
- 12% of women experience difficulties becoming pregnant or carrying a baby to term.
- Approximately 1 in 8 couples in the United States deal with infertility issues.
Statistics of Symptoms and Causes of Female Infertility
- 25% of women experience more than one cause for infertility.
- 1 in 4 women get pregnant during any single menstrual cycle during their 20s and early to mid-30s.
- Women in their 40s have a 1 in 10 change of getting pregnant per their menstrual cycle.
- Women who are younger than 35 are advised to seek fertility help after a year of trying to conceive, while help is advised after 6 months of trying to conceive for women 35 and older.
- While a 25-year-old woman who has been trying to conceive for three months has an 18% chance of getting pregnant in their next menstrual cycle, a 40-year-old woman has a 7% chance of getting pregnant in the same time frame.
- Approximately 2 out of 3 women who start IVF treatments before age 35 will take home a baby within three IVF cycles.
- Women 30 and younger have a 44% chance of a live birth in their first IVF cycle, while women aged 40-44 have an 11% chance of a live birth in their first IVF cycle.
- About 11% of women report fertility concerns during their childbearing years.
- PCOS causes about 90% of anovulation cases.
- 1 in 10 women of childbearing age have PCOS.
- During their reproductive years, approximately 1 in 10 women are affected by endometriosis.
- Around 40% of women who have endometriosis may experience infertility at some point.
- Cigarette smoking has been found to be a cause of female infertility by as much as 13%.
- Approximately 12% of fertility concerns for women stem from weighing too much or too little.
How Surrogacy Can Be an Option For You
Infertility can be a long journey full of emotional ups and downs. When you’ve been struggling with infertility and infertility treatments for any amount of time, you may be wondering what is left for you to try.
This is where surrogacy can come in to be the right option for you.
Sometimes, people in similar situations as you choose surrogacy as another infertility option to pursue, especially if medical treatments like in vitro fertilization haven’t resulted in success. However, knowing when to move from infertility to surrogacy can be a difficult decision to make, particularly if you are still hoping to experience the pregnancy process yourself.
Know that no one can make any decision but you about what is right for your path to parenthood. There are infertility and surrogacy professionals who can help you and provide resources, support, and a listening ear.
Giving up the dream of carrying a pregnancy yourself can be difficult, and we know this is not a decision you can make overnight. Everyone is different, and you may have different concerns than others about moving from infertility to surrogacy – which is absolutely fine and normal.
You can talk with an infertility counselor to learn about other options you can try in order to become a parent. They can also talk help you better understand the causes of female infertility and provide support and resources to help you through this time.
You can also contact a surrogacy professional to learn more about the surrogacy process, what surrogacy costs, how it can be the best option for you. There is never any rush to make any decision, and surrogacy will always be an option for you.