Infertility is increasingly common, but that does not make it any less discouraging. Fortunately, modern medicine has a solution to almost every common infertility factor.
Each couple has a unique set of circumstances, but what are the top 5 factors that affect female fertility?
There’s no question about it: Age is the #1 factor affecting female fertility. The quantity and quality of eggs decline each year, and there is a steep decline around age 35. In the prime of fertility, a woman has about a 25% chance of getting pregnant each cycle. By age 40, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant is less than 5% per cycle.
Many women choose to delay pregnancy until they are established and ready, in order to be the best parent possible. Make an appointment with a fertility clinic to determine your age-related fertility potential by testing the quantity and quality of your remaining eggs.
Solutions to age-related fertility issues:
In order for ovulation and conception to work, you need the proper amount of GnRH, LH, FSH, estrogen and progesterone, and each must be present at the right time. Conception and successful pregnancies require a delicate hormonal balance.
PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome is marked by the presence of elevated androgens, which include testosterone and other male sex hormones, and prevent proper ovulation.
Thyroid dysfunction: Both low and high levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, thus impairing fertility.
Other hormonal problems that lead to infertility and miscarriage include low progesterone and short luteal phases.
Ovulation is the key to conception. If you only have a period every few months or not at all, you may not be ovulating regularly enough to get pregnant.
Watch for other signs of hormonal imbalances, including:
Solutions to hormone-related fertility issues:
Damage to reproductive organs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, Fallopian tube blockage, and endometriosis can prevent successful conception and pregnancy.
Tubal factor: Fallopian tubal factors account for about 35% of all fertility problems. Tube blockage usually results from scar tissue developed through injury or disease.
Pelvic inflammatory disease: This bacteria results from STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea and leads to fallopian tubal factors, because bacteria from this infection can cause scar tissue to form. 1/10 women with PID become infertile.
Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a potentially painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing blockages.
Solutions to anatomy-related fertility issues:
Genetically inherited hormones or structural abnormalities may also impact one’s ability to get pregnant. Genes also affect the age of menopause (you’re six times more likely to experience early menopause if your mother, sister or grandmother experienced it).
It is critical to understand your family fertility history, and bring your findings into your fertility specialist. They may recommend fertility testing to determine which of the following fertility treatments is right for you.
Solutions to gene-related fertility issues:
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, up to 13% of infertility may be caused by cigarette smoking. Women who smoke also reach menopause 1-4 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Other lifestyle factors that may diminish your fertility include:
These lifestyle factors can affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, low fertility caused by lifestyle factors is completely reversible.
Solutions to lifestyle-related fertility issues:
To learn more about infertility and successful treatment methods, check out this complete fertility guide.