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Infertility in Women

Causes & Diagnoses

When you consider the complicated set of events that must occur in order to get pregnant and carry a baby to term, it’s not surprising that infertility is quite common. Many complex factors must work together in harmony—which is why for many women and couples the process doesn’t always go as planned. However, there is hope: Our fertility specialists access leading technologies and advanced medical techniques to resolve a large number of fertility issues and help people reach their goals of creating a family.

Causes & Treatment

For women, a large variety of factors can affect your fertility, including:

  • Ovulation: Roughly 25% of all infertile women have issues with ovulation, and the majority of them are due to hormonal imbalances caused by impaired communication between the glands that produce the hormone and the brain. Abnormal ovulation can also be caused by such things as significant weight gain or weight loss, or having extremely low or extremely high Body Mass Index (BMI). Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, and/or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
  • Blocked Fallopian Tubes: This can be caused by several factors; most common are past infections including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Treatment may include IVF or possible surgery.
  • Age: A woman’s fertility starts to decline gradually after age 30, and more dramatically as she gets into her late 30s. As a woman ages, the chance of genetic mutations and/or fetal abnormalities also increases. Treatment may include testing each embryo to determine whether all of its chromosomes are normal.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This very common disorder affects approximately 10% of women in their child-bearing years and results in absent or infrequent ovulation due to a hormonal imbalance. Common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles (oligomenorrhea), male-patterned hair growth on the face and body (hirsutism), obesity, and acne. Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, and/or IVF. Read our blog: “Top 10 Questions Doctors Hear About PCOS”
  • Cervical Disorders: Cervical disorders can prevent the sperm from being able to enter the uterus. Treatment may include Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or IVF.
  • Endometriosis: Approximately 35 to 50 percent of women with infertility also have endometriosis, which occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of it. This can lead to fallopian tube scarring, pelvic inflammation and pain, and other complications. Symptoms include painful menstruation, pain during sex, pain during urination or bowel movements, fatigue, nausea, and recurrent yeast infections. Treatment may include surgery or IVF.
  • Blood-Clotting Disorders: Excessive clotting is associated with recurrent miscarriage as well as slow fetal growth and high blood pressure. Treatment frequently includes blood-thinning medication.
  • Adenomyosis: This condition occurs when endometrial tissue, which lines the uterus, grows into the outer muscular tissue, causing structural issues. Treatment includes medication and (less frequently) surgery.
  • Cancer: The disease itself, along with treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, can greatly diminish or damage sperm and eggs. To prevent this, many patients freeze their eggs or sperm or embryos for future use prior to receiving cancer treatment.
  • Lifestyle: Everyone’s fertility is affected to some degree by lifestyle. Being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, being sedentary, and even exposure to some plastics can all decrease fertility. Treatment includes proper diet, weight loss, moderate exercise, and avoiding harmful substances.

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

We offer specialized assistance to those faced with the heartache of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). Defined as having two or more miscarriages, recurrent pregnancy loss can be caused by many things, with the risk going up with age.

We have established our Center for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss because we recognize the emotional toll that those with RPL endure. We offer counseling, compassionate care, and extensive expertise to those who suffer from repeated miscarriages in order to maximize the chances of starting a family.