What is Infertility In Women
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
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Infertility In Women Definition
Infertility in women is a disorder of the reproductive system that hinders the body's ability to ovulate, conceive, or carry an infant to term. A couple is considered infertile when they have not conceived after a full year of regular sexual intercourse without using contraception. Couple infertility may be due to male factors, female factors, or a combination.
A successful pregnancy involves many steps. First, a healthy egg must be released from a woman's ovaries (ovulation) and travel to the fallopian tube. There it is fertilized by a man's sperm. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg then moves down the fallopian tube to the uterus. The embryo secures itself to the uterine wall. This begins the 38-40 week journey from embryo to fetus to baby. Problems can occur at anytime during this process and may result in failure to establish a pregnancy.
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Infertility affects an estimated 14% of married women ages 15-44 in the United States. Age-related ability to have a successful pregnancy is well documented. Success rates begin to decline at age 35 and are severely reduced by age 40 in women.
Common causes of infertility in women include:
- Menstrual cycle dysfunction -the most common cause of infertility in women (failure to ovulate)
- Problems with ovulation -something affects the development and release of an egg by the ovary
- Fallopian tube blockage -present from birth or may result from surgery, trauma, or infection in the pelvic area
- Endometriosis -results when tissue from the uterine lining is found outside the uterus