Female factor infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term due to one or more problems specific to females. For example, if a couple is struggling to achieve pregnancy and the male has an adequate sperm count, motility, and shape, but the woman has polycystic ovarian syndrome, then their inability to conceive is likely due to female factor infertility.
Female Fertility Problems:
There are several conditions that contribute to female factor infertility:
Hormonal / ovulation: Hormonal imbalances, related to Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) affect follicular development as well as ovulation. Progesterone secretion can also affect the ability to achieve and maintain a pregnancy.
Damage to or infection of the fallopian tubes resulting in blockage or impaired motility is another common reason for infertility, as these conditions prevent the embryo travelling down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.
A significant problem in the pelvis is endometriosis, where developing cells from the endometrium break away and adhere to the pelvic contents, affecting the ability of a woman to achieve a pregnancy. Up to 70 per cent of women with endometriosis experience some degree of infertility. Fibroids and polyps in the uterus can also impair fertility.
Cervix / vaginal problems:
Structural abnormalities of the vagina or cervix can affect fertility.
It is important to understand, however, that infertility, whether male infertility or female infertility, is not the same thing as sterility – conception and successful pregnancy are possible for many patients who seek treatment for infertility. Likewise, secondary infertility (the inability of a couple to conceive after having already achieved a successful pregnancy or pregnancies) can often be treated.