If the woman is unable to conceive even after well-timed and unprotected married life for about one year, it is known as infertility. According to medical statistics, female infertility contributes to about 50% of all infertility cases. It is estimated that around 10% of married women who fall under the age group 16-40 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Women's age plays a vital role in her fertility journey, as the age increases the fertility levels of women tend to decrease drastically.
Even though not able to conceive is one of the significant identifiable symptoms of infertility, the other symptoms include irregular periods, painful periods, hormone imbalance or fluctuation, and painful intercourse. Each symptom has a list of identifiable underlying medical conditions attached to it that might cause infertility.
Apart from age, the other risk factors that might put women at a higher chance of developing infertility are body weight, food habits, stress, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Infertility is a result of various causes or factors that include:
Lack of Ovulation - Every cycle, an egg is released from the ovaries known as ovulation. The absence of an egg in the cycle is known as anovulation because of which fertilization can't take place. Ovulation disorder can happen due to various reasons, such as poor egg quality, thyroid problems, and premature ovarian failure.
Polycistic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - It is the hormonal issue faced by many women in which tiny cysts are developed in the ovaries. Due to the cysts, the egg can not be released and even lead to irregular periods.
Fallopian Tube Damage - Any damage or blockage in the fallopian tubes prevent the fertilization from taking place as the sperm can't reach the egg.
Endometriosis - It is a condition in which the uterine tissue grows outside the uterus, which affects the implantation process.
Unexplained Infertility - Sometimes, even after a thorough examination, there may not be any underlying identifiable problem that leads to infertility.
A complete medical and sexual history, along with physical examination, is done before the start of fertility diagnostic tests. The different types of fertility tests for women include hormone testing, ovulation scans, Hysterosalpingography, ovarian reserve testing, and, in a few cases, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy.
Based on the diagnosis, the underlying cause is identified, and appropriate treatment options suggested to overcome infertility and experience the joy of motherhood.Authored By : DR RUCHI MALHOTRA, DGO DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology