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Common causes of female infertility

There are several factors which may hamper successful conception, though female infertility is just part of the picture

Posted: 31 August 2007
by Laura Lee Davies

When people think of 'infertility', they usually associate this with some inability on the woman's part, to successfully conceive. However, if we look at an overview of common causes of infertility we can see that in only about 35 to 40 per cent of cases is it an instance of female infertility, with nearly another third of cases due to male-related issues such as low sperm count. Then there is another group again which are simply 'unexplained'.

Useful contacts

Infertility Network UK
Tel: 08701 188088
Website: http://www.infertilitynetworkuk.com/

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Tel: 020 7291 8200
Website: www.hfea.gov.uk/Home

Website: www.ivf-infertility.com

Conditions which affect female fertility
In around 16 or 17 per cent of cases the problem hampering conception is blocked fallopian tubes. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, scarred or damaged a successfully fertilised egg may not be able to make its way down into the uterus to establish the pregnancy. There are several possible causes of damage to fallopian tubes including infection, previous surgery and endometriosis.

Endometriosis generally, not only in the area of your fallopian tubes, can also cause infertility and accounts for around 3 per cent of cases.

Ongoing problems with ovulation, such as irregular cycles, can account for nearly 5 per cent of cases, and in a handful of cases, there may uterus-related problems.

Perhaps rather unhelpfully, in about 17 per cent of cases of female infertility, it is a combination of issues – health and well being, combined with or possibly causing irregular periods, and perhaps an undiagnosed gynaelogical problem which has hitherto not been painful and therefore has gone unnoticed, may all conspire to slow or prevent your chances of successful conception.

What to do next?
If you have a history of problems, it is worth speaking to your GP about your gynaelogical history before you leave it too long. This may at least rule out or address treatable problems.
There are many simple tests for women and also tests for men.

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