If you are a woman experiencing a fertility problem, you are not alone. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that more than seven million women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. The study also reports that 9.2 million women had made use of infertility services at some point in their life.
A woman’s fertility peaks in her early 20s. As she reaches 35 and beyond, her likelihood of getting pregnant drops to less than 10% per month. Therefore, deciding when to seek help for infertility depends largely on a woman’s age.
Fertility specialists generally recommend that women under 35 should try to conceive for six to 12 months before undergoing testing; women over 35 should discuss their concerns with a specialist after trying for six months. Women over the age of 40, especially those with a history of gynecological issues like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis or repeated miscarriages, are candidates for earlier intervention.
Female Infertility | Factors That Affect The Reproductive System and Put Women at Higher Risk of Infertility
- Age – The quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs begin to decline after age 32, making conception more challenging. The risks of miscarriage or having a child with chromosomal abnormalities also increase when the mother is over 35.
- Smoking – Besides the overall negative effects that smoking has on the human body, it can damage the cervix and fallopian tubes, age the ovaries and deplete eggs prematurely, decreasing your chances of getting pregnant. It can also increase the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy once you are pregnant. Many fertility specialists advise patients to quit smoking before beginning treatment. Smoking during pregnancy is also not recommended for the health of the mother and fetus.
- Weight – Being overweight or significantly underweight can inhibit normal ovulation. Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) has been linked to good general health as well as healthy ovulation and increased chances of getting pregnant.
- Sexual history – Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including chlamydia and gonorrhea, are known to cause damage to the fallopian tubes that carry eggs to the uterus, decreasing the chances of implantation and pregnancy.
- Alcohol – Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of endometriosis and ovulation disorders.
- Caffeine – Consumption of more than 900 milligrams of caffeine (the equivalent of six cups of coffee) a day may decrease your fertility.
Other Factors Causing Female Infertility
- Defects of the uterus and cervix (fibroids, polyps, birth defects)
- Excessive exercising, eating disorders or poor nutrition
- Exposure to certain medications or toxins
- Hormone imbalance or deficiencies
- Autoimmune disorders
- Clotting disorders
- Long-term (chronic) disease, such as diabetes
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Scarring from sexually transmitted disease or endometriosis
- Fertilized eggs or embryos that fail to attach or survive after implanting in the uterine wall
The precise cause of female infertility can be difficult to diagnose, but many treatments are available. If you suspect that female infertility problems are keeping you from becoming pregnant, RMACT is here to help. Our Patient Care Team of board-certified fertility specialists, nurses, patient coordinators and financial services representatives offers the most advanced, effective medical options available.
Contact us to explore your fertility treatment options at RMACT. We’re here for you.