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The causes of female infertility

by Content Editor
The causes of female infertility

When a long-awaited pregnancy does not occur, many questions arise. Here are the real physiological obstacles to conception: some will find medical solutions.

Table of contents

Late pregnancies

Fertility is a biological concept: we have the age of our hormones. Now, we are at the top of our fertility around the age of 25, and it then decreases little by little with an apparent acceleration after 35 years. Beyond that age, ovulation is of poorer quality, and the risk of miscarriage is much greater. Finally, the uterus and fallopian tubes can be the site of fibroids or endometriosis, which further reduces fertility.

Capricious ovaries that interfere with ovulation

In some women, the presence of microcysts on the ovaries or a malfunction of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus (glands in the brain that release female hormones) prevents the ovum from being released by the ovaries. It is then impossible for the egg to cross the path of the spermatozoon. Medical treatment (ovarian stimulation) can effectively treat these ovulation disorders, provided that it is moderate (risk of hyperstimulation) and closely monitored by a doctor. Radiotherapy or chemotherapy, treatments indicated in the case of cancer, can also damage the ovaries.

Blocked fallopian tubes

This is the second most common cause of infertility. The fallopian tubes – through which the egg passes to reach the uterus – can become blocked. This blockage of the fallopian tubes is the consequence of PID (200,000 new cases in France each year). Sexually transmitted germs cause this tubal infection.

An abnormality of the uterine lining: endometriosis

The lining of the uterus – or endometrium – can cause problems during conception if it is not of the right consistency. The uterine lining may be too thin and thus prevent the embryo from attaching itself, or, conversely, it may be too thick. In this case, doctors speak of endometriosis. This disorder of the uterine mucosa is manifested by the presence of endometrium on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even the bladder and intestines! The main hypothesis currently put forward to explain the presence of this uterine mucosa outside the cavity is that of reflux. During menstruation, the blood from the endometrium that flows towards the vagina rises towards the fallopian tubes. It ends up in the abdominal cavity, where it creates endometriosis lesions or even adhesions between organs. Women with endometriosis generally have excruciating periods, and 30 to 40% of them have difficulty getting pregnant. There are two main methods of treating endometriosis: hormonal treatment or surgery.

An inhospitable womb

Once the spermatozoon has met the egg in the uterus, the game is not yet won! Sometimes the egg cannot implant in the uterine cavity because of a malformation or the presence of fibroids or polyps in the uterus. Sometimes, the cervical mucus secreted by the cervix, which is necessary to allow the passage of sperm, is insufficient or non-existent.
A simple hormonal treatment can be proposed to increase the secretion of these glands.

Lifestyle affects fertility

There is no secret, “wanting a baby” rhymes with “good health”! Tobacco, alcohol, stress, obesity, or, conversely, a diet that is too restrictive are all harmful to the fertility of men and women. It is striking and somewhat frightening to note that spermatozoa were much richer and more mobile in the 70s and 80s than today! It is therefore essential to have a healthy lifestyle to boost fertility.


Being diagnosed with infertility doesn’t mean that your dreams of having a child have come to an end. It may take some time; the treatment that’s right for you and your partner will depend on many factors, including your age, the cause of infertility.

In some cases, a fertility problem may not be able to be treated.

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