Causes of Female Infertility

Intricate System

The female reproductive system is intricate, with many steps to take toward getting pregnant. Just one slight variation in the way a woman's body works can cause the whole venture to fail, with no baby in sight. Female infertility is just as complex, with many factors at play. One of the most common hurdles on the road to conception is the presence of ovulation disorders.

A Broad Term

Ovulation disorders is a broad term that covers symptoms affecting up to 25% of all couples who are having trouble getting pregnant. Sometimes an ovulation disorder is caused by a faulty hypothalamus or pituitary gland, which is supposed to regulate the hormones associated with reproduction. At other times, the problem is the ovary itself. Your doctor makes the diagnosis of an ovulation disorder based on infrequent ovulation or anovulation or the absence of ovulation.

Abnormal Secretion of FSH and LH

There are two hormones that cause a woman to ovulate each month. One is called the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the other is called the luteinizing hormone (LH). These are produced by the pituitary gland during the course of the menstrual cycle in a predetermined pattern.

The pattern by which FSH and LH are secreted can be disrupted due to either physical or emotional stress as well as inappropriate body weight (too fat or too thin). When the pattern is interrupted, ovulation is affected. The main symptom of this situation is absent or irregular menstruation. Another cause of abnormal FSH and LH secretion is diseases that affect the pituitary gland. This is often seen with other hormone deficiencies.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

In polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), changes occurring in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries, can cause too much of the male hormone known as androgen to be produced. This has a strong and adverse affect on ovulation. The syndrome is also associated with obesity and insulin resistance.

Luteal Phase Defect

Progesterone is a necessary component in the preparation of the uterine lining to receive a fertilized egg. This is supposed to happen after ovulation during what is known as the luteal phase. If your ovary doesn't make enough progesterone, this is known as a luteal phase defect.

Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature ovarian failure is a condition that is believed to be an autoimmune response that causes the body to identify ovarian tissue as an intruder so that it attacks and destroys this important tissue. The result is the loss of ovarian eggs and a decrease in the production of estrogen.