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:
- Blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis,
or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy
- Physical problems with the uterus
- Uterine fibroids
What things increase a woman's risk of infertility?
Many things can affect a woman's ability to have a baby. These include:
- Poor diet
- Athletic training
- Being overweight or underweight
- Tobacco smoking
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Health problems that cause hormonal changes
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
Aging decreases a woman's chances of having a baby in the following
- 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.