Infertility in Women
- An egg is released from the woman's ovaries (ovulation).
- The egg travels to the fallopian tubes. Here, the man's sperm can fertilize it.
- If the egg is fertilized (conception), it moves down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
- It implants itself into the wall of the uterus. It then begins its 40 weeks of fetal growth.
|Female Reproductive Organs|
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Problems with Ovulation
Problems with Fallopian Tubes
- Very high or very low levels of body fat (resulting in lack of ovulation), obesity
- Excessive exercise (causing to severe a loss of body fat)
- Chronic diseases, such as:
- Caffeine consumption
- Alcohol intake
Occupational exposure to:
- High temperatures
- Toxic substances
- Constant stress
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Polycystic ovaries
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Kidney failure
- Pituitary tumors
- Anorexia nervosa
- Autoimmune hypothyroidism
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic surgery (including uterine surgery)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn disease
- Cushing's disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- HIV infection
- Kidney disease
- Appendicitis with complications (ruptured appendix)
- Pain medications
- Basal body temperature—rises at ovulation and remains elevated during the second half of your cycle and throughout pregnancy; you take your temperature every day and record it on a chart
- Blood test—to measure hormone levels
- Endometrial biopsy —to see if ovulation is causing changes in the lining of the uterus
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG)—an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes
- Transvaginal ultrasound—a device inserted into the vagina to take an image of the pelvic organs
- Hysteroscopy—a thin device inserted through the cervix to look inside the uterus
- Laparoscopy —a small device with a camera is inserted into incisions in the abdomen, allowing the doctor to examine the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus
- Ovarian cysts
- Scar tissue
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
- Artificial insemination—semen is collected and processed in a lab. It is then inserted directly into the woman's cervix or uterus.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) —several mature eggs are removed from the woman's body and mixed with sperm in a lab. The egg and sperm mixture or a 2-3 day old embryo is then placed in the uterus.
- Gamete or zygote intrafallopian transfer (GIFT or ZIFT)—an egg is removed from the woman's body and mixed with sperm in a lab. The egg and sperm mixture or a 2-3 day old embryo is then placed in the fallopian tube.
- Blastocyst intrafallopian transfer—an egg is removed from the woman's body, injected with sperm, and allowed to develop. It is later implanted into the uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection—a single sperm is injected into the egg. The resulting embryo can be implanted into the uterus or frozen for later use.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
American Society for Reproductive Medicine http://www.asrm.org
SexualityandU.ca—The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sexualityandu.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Cronin M, Schellschmidt I, Dinger J. Rate of pregnancy after using drospirenone and other progestin-containing oral contraceptives. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:616-622.
Female Infertility Best Practice Policy Committee of the American Urological Association; Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A practice committee report: optimal evaluation of the infertile female. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 2000;86:S264-S267.
Infertility. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq137.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130211T1206240241. Published April 2013. Accessed October 30, 2014.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Luttjeboer FY, Verhoeve HR, van Dessel HJ, et al. The value of medical history taking as risk indicator for tuboperitoneal pathology: a systematic review. BJOG. 2009;116:612-625.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 10/2014 -
- Update Date: 01/15/2014 -