Infertility is the problem of women’s and men’s being unable to have a baby by natural means due to medical reasons. Infertility means despite regular sexual intercourse without using any means of protection, not being able to get pregnant for a year.
The worldwide rate of infertility problems is 15-20%. Among the causes leading to infertility, female infertility accounts for 50% of this rate.
The most important problem of female infertility problems is that women who are supposed to produce eggs each month cannot produce them. Even if she produces, this egg production is not regular. This problem is called ovulation disorder.
The second most common reason of female infertility is that the female ovarian tubes are clogged. Ovarian tubes seize and absorb the egg in the ovaries. Following that, fertilization with the sperm coming from the uterus occurs in the ovarian tube. Infertility may occur because of the ovarian tubes’ being clogged, intrauterine adhesion, dysfunctions, and function loss of millions of small cilias that combine eggs and sperm in the canal.
10 Main Infertility Reasons Seen in Women Respectively:
1- Ovulation disorders: The most common cause of infertility in women is ovulation disorders.
2- Damaged tubes: Partially or completely clogged tubes make it impossible to fertilize by preventing sperm and egg from merging. This problem leads to infertility. Women’s ovarian tube disorders are more common in those who cannot obtain a second pregnancy after the first one than those who have never had a baby.
Endometriosis Endometriosis is the development of the endometrium, the tissue covering intrauterine, outside the uterus.
4- Problems regarding the uterus: Structural problems and infections in the cervix, or problems caused by the secretion in this part may lead to infertility.
5- Allergic reasons: Allergy-related problems may lead to infertility. Diagnosis of allergic reasons is very difficult.
6- Inflammatory problems: Previous inflammations may lead to infertility. These inflammations may lead to adhesion of the membrane. This obstructs such actions as disposing egg from the ovary or transferring the disposed egg to the ovarian tube or performing the functions of the canal.
7- Endometriosis Endometriosis is seen in women in their reproductive period. The name of this disease derives from “endometrium”, which refers to the tissue covering intrauterine and thickens and comes off each month during menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is the existence of the tissue covering intrauterine that menstruates outside the uterus. In endometriosis, the intrauterine membrane bleeds every month and a similar process occurs in the abdomen, too. Menstruation occurs every month regularly similar to those of endometriosis. For this reason, cystic formations occur in the future. This problem also leads to adhesions. This adhesion may result in infertility and make a surgical intervention necessary.
These tissues, which are located where they are not supposed to be, may result in the following in time:
- uterus congestion,
- ovulation deterioration.
Eighty percent of people with endometriosis problems are exposed to infertility problems.
The uterus of the woman who wants to become a mother must perform its normal functions. If the factors listed below occur in the uterus where the baby develops, getting pregnant might be difficult:
- inflammation or congenital adhesions,
- polyps, tumours developing into the uterus called myoma,
- the uterus in the form of a heart, which results from congenital reasons,
- having two uteruses.
Even if the woman gets pregnant, it may result in a miscarriage. These problems can be cured. They can be treated by surgical interventions.
Among the factors leading to infertility:
- malformations in the uterus,
- infections and poor mucus quality,
- polyps that develop in the cervix or in the uterus.
The polyps are benign, small, tissue structures. It is not a bad disease, but it can sometimes be a barrier to become pregnant.
9- Cervical mucus inflammation
Another common female infertility reason is the inflammation of the cervical mucus. If there is inflammation in the cervical mucus, the transfer of the sperm may become difficult or this may cause the sperm to die. Due to histoincompatibility between some couples, the woman produces a variety of substances against the male sperm. These substances cause the sperm to die and pregnancy to fail.
10- Age of the mother-to-be
One of the most important problems that lead to infertility is how old the mother-to-be is. As women get older, the number of eggs they have decreases. This is followed by deterioration of ovulation and reduction in egg quality. In advanced age pregnancies, the risk of miscarriage is quite high.
This condition, defined as “egg aging”, is also related to the menopause age of the woman. It is possible to make a prediction about the age of menopause. The ovarian age can also be predicted through special tests administered every third day of menstruation. The age of a woman is becoming a widespread reason of infertility nowadays. The status of women, living conditions and various reasons cause them to postpone getting married having a child at a later age.
What is the most important infertility factor seen in women?
- When a woman with 100 infertility problems is taken as an example:
- ovulation problems: 40%
- ovulation related problems: 30%
- problems related to ovarian tubes: 25%
- the rest of them are respectively: cervical factors, uterine or abdominal problems
5 External Factors That Pose Risks for Female Infertility
1- Smoking of the mother-to-be
Nicotine found in cigarettes causes the quality of the egg to deteriorate. It is hard to fertilise eggs with low quality. Thus, smoking may result in infertility.
2- Alcohol use of the-mother-to-be
Alcohol lowers the chance of pregnancy and increases the risk of miscarriage even if pregnancy occurs.
3- The weight of the mother-to-be
Excessively weak or overweight mothers-to-be have difficulty in getting pregnant. The situation in which nutrition is not regular and thus the weight is not at the desired level has a negative effect on pregnancy.
4- Stress Factor
There are researches revealing that stress affects fertility negatively.
5- Use of intrauterine devices
Intrauterine devices are regarded as the reason of some infertility problems. Intrauterine devices are a method of contraception. The body is in the uterus, and the extensions that come out of the body are in the vagina. The extensions hanging into the vagina are used to remove the spiral. But these extensions combine the dirty vagina with the clean intrauterine. Thus, this may result in inflammations. Bacteria and microbes introduced to the vagina during sexual intercourses or microbes in a normal vagina enter the uterus and cause inflammations.
These inflammations affect the uterine membrane. It can even spread to the ovarian tubes, causing them to adhere or cilium to malfunction. For these reasons, intrauterine devices are not recommended for individuals who have never had a baby before and want to be a mother.
Common Causes of Infertility:
- Severe liver or kidney diseases
- Drug use
- Hypothalamic dysfunction
Factors Related to the Ovaries
- Polycystic Over Syndrome
- Decreased ovarian reserve
- Early menopause
- Luteal phase defect
- Ovarian cysts
- Gonadal Dysgenesis (Turner Syndrome)
- Ovarian cancer
- Pelvic adhesions
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Tubal obstruction
- Tube function failure
Reasons Related to Uterus
- Uterus deformities
- Uterine myomas
- Asherman Syndrome
- Cervical stricture
- Anti-sperm antibodies
- Cervical mucus disorder
- Vaginal obstruction
- Situations that cause intersex
- Mayer-Rokitansky-Hauser Syndrome: It is observed in every 5000 women. Although the individual is biologically female, there is no uterus and no menstruation.
- Turner Syndrome
IVF success rates – Taking home a healthy baby
Success rate of IVF depends on such factors:
- age of the woman
- ovarian reserve
- semen properties
- Fallopian tubes
- past treatments
- additional medical disorders
In general, success rates can vary from 10% to 60%, depending on patients.
However, in cases where the mother-to-be is younger than 38 years old, her hormones are in good condition, there are no other defects, and the sperm is sufficient, it can be argued that the possibility of pregnancy is nearly 50-60% in each IVF try.
The rate of delivering a living baby to your home is up to 80%. This is because about 20% of pregnancies result in miscarriages.
The chance of a woman who does not have any health problems to have a baby by natural means varies from 20% to 25% each month.