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What are the causes of infertility in women?

causes of infertility in womenOne in seven couples will have trouble conceiving. Forty percent of the time, the problem will be with the male, 40% will be with the female and in 20% the problem will be with both partners. Because infertility can be caused by variety of factors, some women can find this to be especially stressful, as they aren’t sure why they're having trouble getting pregnant or what steps to take. While there are many causes of infertility in women, here are some of the most common factors.

Ovulation Disorders

Ovulation is clearly an essential part of getting pregnant, and when something in a woman’s body prevents or disrupts ovulation, she becomes more likely to encounter infertility. Simply put, no ovulation means no eggs to be fertilized (learn more about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome here).

While irregular or altogether-missed menstruation can be a sign of an ovulation disorder, it is best to visit of a fertility clinic to be sure, as these signs can also be caused by something as routine as heavy exercise.

Although ovulation disorders are responsible for many cases of infertility, it doesn’t mean that you have an ovulation disorder if you are having trouble getting pregnant. There is a variety of other factors to consider as well.

Tubal disease

Another potential ovulation issue is that of blocked fallopian tubes (this accounts for over 30% of infertility cases in women). Fallopian tubes are two narrow tubes (there is one on each side of the uterus) that help guide an egg from the ovaries to the uterus. When something blocks these tubes (and prevents the egg from progressing) infertility can occur.

Here are some of the most common reasons for blocked fallopian tubes:

  • Appendicitis
  • Pelvic infection (PID)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that develops outside the uterus)
  • Asherman’s Syndrome (scar tissue within the uterus)
  • Fibroids


Because a woman’s fertility decreases after her late twenties, women often encounter some form of fertility issue as they progress through their 30’s and 40’s (and have an especially difficult time getting pregnant after 45). As women age, the ability of their ovaries to release eggs declines, as does the health of those eggs.

In addition, a woman’s aging can also be a factor in inducing health issues which can interfere with getting pregnant.

Poor Diet and Lifestyle

Leading a high-risk lifestyle or maintaining a poor diet are things that many don’t realize factor into a woman’s fertility. Here are a few of these most common factors:

  • Being overweight
  • Being underweight
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Maintaining a high degree of stress

Again, these may seem like traits that are insignificant, but they actually all can potentially impact a woman’s fertility. You can learn more here about all of these potential contributors to female infertility.

When you are trying to find the right fertility clinic for you, be sure to look for a clinic that takes the time to educate you on why you are encountering infertility. To see a board-certified fertility specialist who is qualified to determine and provide the treatment for you, make an appointment at one of InVia’s four Chicago area fertility clinics.

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Todd Mensik

Todd Mensik

Todd Mensik is the Practice Representative at InVia Fertility. He is passionate about making sure that the overall experience of each and every patient exceeds expectations. He also works with the referring physician to ensure that the transition into our office is seamless.


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