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    Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility

    What causes infertility in women?

    Problems with ovulation account for most cases of infertility in women. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods.

    Less common causes of fertility problems in women include:

    What things increase a woman's risk of infertility?

    Many things can affect a woman's ability to have a baby. These include:

    How does age affect a woman's ability to have children?

    More and more women are waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children. Actually, about 20% of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35. So age is an increasingly common cause of fertility problems. About one-third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have fertility problems.

    Aging decreases a woman's chances of having a baby in the following ways:

    • The ability of a woman's ovaries to release eggs ready for fertilization declines with age.
    • The health of a woman's eggs declines with age.
    • As a woman ages she is more likely to have health problems that can interfere with fertility.
    • As a women ages, her risk of having a miscarriage increases.

    How long should women try to get pregnant before calling their doctors?

    Most healthy women under the age of 30 shouldn't worry about infertility unless they've been trying to get pregnant for at least a year. At this point, women should talk to their doctors about a fertility evaluation. Men should also talk to their doctors if this much time has passed.

    In some cases, women should talk to their doctors sooner. Women in their 30s who've been trying to get pregnant for six months should speak to their doctors as soon as possible. A woman's chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30. So getting a complete and timely fertility evaluation is especially important.

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