Female Infertility

Problems with ovulation account for most infertility in women. Without ovulation, eggs are not available to be fertilised.

Simple Ovulation Observations

For a woman, the first step in testing is to find out if she is ovulating each month. There are several ways to do this. You will notice clear “egg white” type vaginal mucus for about four days prior to ovulation. This is your most fertile time.

Ovulation kits involve urinating on a dip stix and observing a colour change. This provides a 48 hour window of fertility. Ovulation will occur approximately 14 days prior to the onset of menstruation (the luteal phase). This is useful when a woman has a regular cycle.Signs of problems with ovulation include irregular menstrual periods or no periods.

Female’s Age and Infertility

Aging is an important factor in female infertility. The ability of a woman’s ovaries to produce eggs declines with age, especially after age 35.

About one third of couples where the woman is over 35 will have problems with fertility.

By the time a woman reaches menopause monthly periods stop for good and she can no longer produce eggs or become pregnant.

Other Causes of Female Infertility

Areas that lead to infertility in women include:

  • Lifestyle factors – including stress, diet, or athletic training – can affect a woman’s hormonal balance. Too much exercise can result in amenorrhoea (no periods) or can affect the quality of ovulation and thus have a negative impact on fertility.

  • Hormonal imbalance from a serious medical problem such as a pituitary gland tumour can cause ovulation problems.

  • Blocked fallopian tubes at one or both ends mean that the egg can’t travel through the tubes into the uterus. Blocked tubes may result from pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.