Infertility in women is a problem with the reproductive system that stops a women from being able to get pregnant. More than one pregnancy loss is also a type of infertility. A heterosexual couple is infertile when the woman hasn't gotten pregnant after a full year of regular sex without contraception. This may be due to male factors, female factors, or both.
Pregnancy has many steps. First, a healthy egg must be released from a woman’s ovaries and travel to the fallopian tube. There, a man’s sperm fertilizes it. If fertilization happens, the fertilized egg moves down the tube to the uterus. The embryo attaches to the uterine wall. This starts the 38 to 40 week journey from embryo to fetus to baby. Problems can happen at anytime during this process.
Infertility affects about 10% of women aged 15-44 in the United States. Success rates lower after age 35.
Common causes are:
- Problems with ovulation—something affects the growth and release of an egg by the ovary
- Fallopian tube blockage—present from birth or from surgery, trauma, or infection
- Endometriosis —when tissue from the uterine lining is found outside the uterus
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
- Review Date: 12/2018 -
- Update Date: 01/02/2019 -