Female Infertility: Symptoms, Treatment and Testing

Female Infertility is when a woman cannot get pregnant even after 12 months of unprotected sex. It is a common condition that affects women across the world. Infertility affects about 48 million couples across the world, according to WHO.

Of these, one-third of the time, infertility is due to female factors. There are many causes of why a woman has infertility, but pinpointing one would be difficult. There are numerous modern treatments and assisted pregnancy techniques available to get pregnant. 

What Are the Symptoms of Infertility? 

The obvious symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant despite unprotected sex for 12 months. The figure of 12 months is stated to negate the decreasing chance of getting pregnant as you age.

A woman younger than 30 has a 25 per cent chance of getting pregnant naturally. A woman over 30 years of age has 20 per cent, while a woman over 40 has only a five per cent chance of getting pregnant naturally.

Irregularity of the menstrual cycle is also a sign. A long menstrual cycle of more than 35 days or a short one of fewer than 21 days means no ovulation.

What are the Causes of Female Infertility 

The major causes of female infertility include:

  • Damaged fallopian tubes: If the fallopian tube is damaged, it can prevent the egg from meeting the sperm and prevents fertilisation. Diseases like endometriosis, pelvic infections, and surgeries can cause this damage. 
  • Hormonal changes: When the hormone changes are irregular in the female body, it can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. This leads to improper timing of ovulation, thickening of the endometrium etc. 
  • Endometriosis: Pregnancy complications can occur when the endometrial tissue implants and grows outside of the uterus, thus affecting how the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus works. 
  • Cervical Issues: Some cervical conditions do not allow the passage of sperm into the uterus. It may be blocked by mucus or scar tissue from previous surgeries.
  • Fibroids: The presence of fibroids or polyps creates an inhospitable environment for the foetus, thus causing infertility in many women.
  • PCOS: This condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance of the reproductive system, thus reducing the chances of getting pregnant. 
  • Unknown Causes: This is when all the known causes of infertility are ruled out. This happens in 20% of infertility cases. 

What are the Different Tests for Infertility?

There are many different types of tests that reveal infertility. Some of them are simple ones that can be done in a clinic. They may be a pap test, an overall physical exam, a pelvic exam, pelvic ultrasound, or breast examination for unusual milk production. Other tests include: 

  • Blood Test: Testing the prolactin levels, thyroid levels, ovarian reserve, progesterone levels to know ovulation status etc, is done via blood samples.
  • X-ray hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This is a test where a dye is injected through the cervix and observed as to how it moves through the fallopian tube. This test reveals if there are blockages in the tube. 
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: In this imaging test, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to examine the reproductive organs. 
  • Saline sonohysterogram (SIS): In this test, saline water is used to fill the uterus to get a clearer image of the lining and to look for polyps. 
  • Laparoscopy is the test where a small imaging camera is inserted into the abdomen to look at the organs. 
  • Hysteroscopy: A small thin imaging device is inserted into the vagina to look at the inside of the uterus. 

What are the Different Treatments Available for Infertility?

  • ART or Assisted Reproductive Technology: This is a popular and safe option for assisted pregnancy. It combines fertility and hormone therapy, in-vitro fertilisation, intrauterine insemination, fallopian transfer, etc. 
  • IVF or In-Vitro Fertilisation: This is an advanced procedure by which the sperm and the egg are fertilised outside the body and then placed in the uterus in the blastocyst stage. It is combined with hormone regulation to ensure the embryo has implantation. 
  • Hormonal Medical Therapy: Certain drugs and hormones are given to the women to assist with ovulation. 
  • Egg Donation: This is the process of taking an egg from a healthy egg donor and placing it in the uterus of the infertile receiver. 
  • Artificial Intrauterine insemination: This is a process by which sperm is artificially introduced to the uterus at ovulation to increase the chances of fertilisation. 
  • GIFT & ZIFT: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer or GIFT is where the unfertilised egg and sperm are placed into the woman’s body. In ZIFT, the fertilised zygote is placed into the woman’s body.  
  • Surrogacy: It is an option where the father’s sperm is placed in the uterus of a healthy surrogate woman, who then carries the child on behalf of the recipient. 

Finding The Best Treatment for Female Infertility

There are thousands of women who are suffering from infertility. This adversely affects their happiness and lowers their quality of life. Although there are many infertility treatments, you must choose one that best suits your condition and lifestyle.

The right fertility specialists will provide the right guidance and help you take the route to successful conception.  

As the best fertility clinic and IVF centre in Bangalore, Janisthaa has an experienced team of experts dedicated to helping our patients realise their dreams of parenthood. Contact us today to book a consultation! 

Read Also: What To Consider Before Choosing a Fertility Clinic

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