Reasons for Female Infertility

Like in males, malfunction of any part in the female reproductive system can also be a cause for infertility.

Anovulatory Infertility:

It is caused when a woman fails to produce eggs regularly. This may be due to an imbalance in the hormone production. Due to problems in hypothalamus and pituitary (parts of the brain) FSH and LH are not secreted in the right proportion and at the desired time. An example of such a condition is the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

Due to failure in producing FSH and LH, the ovarian follicles are not stimulated adequately to release the egg. This is called Hypothalamus Pituitary Failure.

Hence, the ovaries fail to produce eggs. This is called Ovarian Failure.

Certain hormonal disorders like less secretion of thyroid hormones and excess prolactin hormone also prevent release of eggs from the ovaries. Sometimes eggs are not produced or released due to excessive stress, strain, weight loss or even bad diet.

Problems in the Fallopian Tube:

If the fallopian tubes are blocked, the egg and the sperms cannot meet. The fallopian tube blockage can be due to

  • Infections like tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, or infection after abortion etc.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Adhesion to the surrounding organs as sometimes occurs after operating on a nearby organ.
  • Some abnormality in the shape of the fallopian tube itself.

Problems in the Cervix:

The sperm has to pass from the vagina through the cervix to the uterus and ultimately to the fallopian tubes to meet the egg. The cervical canal is very narrow and is filled up with mucous through which the sperm has to pass. Therefore, problems in the structure of the cervix or type and texture of the mucous can prevent the sperms to pass through it. This may happen if

  • There is improper hormonal effect on the cervix (lack of estrogen). The mucous in this case is very thick.
  • Infection of the cervix.
  • Antibodies against the sperm present in the mucous of the cervix, which can destroy the sperms.

Problems in Uterus:

Infertility also occurs if the endometrium is unprepared for embedding the fertilized egg. This may happen if

  • The hormonal action on the endometrium is not proper so that it remains thin and unprepared to implant the egg.
  • Some infections like tuberculosis have destroyed the endometrium.
  • As an after effect of operations like curettage of endometrium or abortions, the two layers of endometrium may stick together causing infertility.
  • Tumours in the uterus may deform the cavity of the uterus and also disturb the endometrium thus causing problems.
  • Abnormal shape and smaller than normal size of the uterus (usually present from birth) also leads to infertility.