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Common Infertility Problems in Women and How to Combat Them

If you have recently experienced infertility problems, you are not alone.  More than one in ten couples in the U.S. have also been through it too.

Also, it is not your fault.  Only one-third of cases are due to female infertility problems.

The good news is that approximately 65 percent of couples that get treatment for an infertility problem are eventually able to have a successful pregnancy.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common infertility problems, what causes them, and average success rates for each type of treatment.  Ovulation problems
An ovulation problem occurs when eggs don’t mature in the ovaries or when the ovaries fail to release a mature egg.  This problem occurs commonly in women with infertility.

Possible solutions: Managing body weight if it’s too low or too high, taking fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination), and having in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Success rates: 30-40% percent of women taking fertility drugs to induce ovulation become pregnant by the third treatment cycle.  Success rates declines with age, starting around 34. 

Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue normally found in the lining of the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows outside the uterus, usually in the abdomen or pelvis.

Possible solutions: Surgery to remove endometrial tissue or open blocked fallopian tubes, fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination), and IVF.

Success rates: A large study found that 30 percent of women with infertility related to early stage endometriosis conceived naturally within three years after having laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial tissue.

Poor egg quality
The quality and number of eggs the ovaries produce – naturally or with fertility treatment – declines significantly after age 35.

Possible solutions: Fertility drugs, IVF using your own eggs, IVF with donor eggs or embryos.

Success rates: Women who have IVF using donor eggs have an approximate 55% chance of having a baby per IVF cycle.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition in which small follicles in the ovaries don’t develop into the larger, mature follicles that release eggs. It’s also characterized by hormone imbalances and unpredictable ovulation patterns.

Possible solutions: Lifestyle modifications (like diet and exercise), clomiphene citrate, injected fertility drugs, ovarian drilling (a surgical procedure that can trigger ovulation), and IVF.

Success rates: Many overweight patients who lose 5-10% of their body weight start ovulating regularly. For women with PCOS who take clomiphene citrate, the pregnancy rate per treatment cycle is about 18%.

 Tubal factors
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes prevent sperm from getting to your egg and also prevent the fertilized egg from getting to your uterus. Leading causes of tube problems include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infections (such as chlamydia), and previous sterilization surgery.

Possible solutions: Surgery to open the tubes. If surgery fails, or if the tubes are too damaged to repair, they may be removed before having IVF in order to improve your chances of pregnancy.

Success rates: Conception rates after surgery vary widely, depending on the location and severity of the tube blockage and the amount of postoperative scar tissue that develops.

Unexplained fertility problems
Some experts believe subtle differences in the way the reproductive system works may cause unexplained infertility. This can include differences in follicle development, sperm function, or the fertilization process. Experts also theorize that lifestyle factors – such as being significantly underweight or overweight, regularly consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, and smoking – may be contributing factors as well.

Possible solutions: Fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination) or IVF.

Success rates: For couples with unexplained infertility, the pregnancy rate is between 9-26% per treatment cycle when fertility drugs are used in combination with artificial insemination.

Other Solutions:  Surrogacy
If you have explored infertility treatment options with your doctor, and you (or your partner) are not a good candidate for treatment or don’t want to go through the pain of disappointment again, you still have other options available to you to bring a new member into your family.

One of the most common paths that many infertile couples choose is gestational surrogacy – i.e. having a highly screened third-party carrier, through artificial insemination, bear your child for you.

This involves a series of medical, legal and financial issues and usually requires a carefully chosen surrogacy agency to handle all of these things and to guide you through the process.

To find out more about infertility, its causes, treatment options and success rates of surrogacy, please download the free guide A Comprehensive Guide to Infertility and What You Can Do About It, by clicking on the image below.

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