What causes female infertility?
The reasons behind female infertility
Infertility is affecting 10% of Greece’s reproductive population, which translates to approximately 300,000 couples.
The most common factor for infertility involves fallopian tube lesions, which manifest either as an obstruction or as a malfunction. The main cause of this condition is a history of fallopian tube inflammation.
Severe endometriosis also contributes to female infertility. Adhesions caused by endometriosis in internal genital organs deform the area and distort the normal function of the organs.
However, even in its mild form, endometriosis deters pregnancy through several mechanisms: it may distort ovulation, obstruct the transfer of sperm, eggs, or embryos to the tubes or deter implantation. Laparoscopy can yield useful information and can help the doctor choose between surgical management or IVF.
At the beginning, ovulation disorders are managed with medication. However, if all efforts fail and no pregnancy is achieved, then IVF is the only solution, especially if the patient is running out of time.
When standard screening fails to reveal the causes of the couple’s infertility and when pregnancy cannot be achieved, the doctor shall speak of unexplained infertility. In such cases, the couple is put under the microscope, and IVF undertakes to diagnose or deviate the problem. As time is a major parameter in fertility, women over the age of 40 need to receive treatment immediately for their condition, even if all other factors appear normal.
Immunologic infertility is a hidden cause of the problem which, however, is not yet fully clarified. IVF can often deviate immunology issues offering therapeutic and pharmaceutical protection to the embryo.
If a women is no longer producing eggs or if she has no ovaries, IVF offers the solution of egg donation from another woman under the age of 35. Likewise, if repeat insemination with donor sperm has failed, then IVF is once again the best solution to the problem.
Nowadays, thanks to the great progress made in cytogenetics, IVF specialists can take advantage of the embryo biopsy procedure that allows for the retrieval and screening of just one cell from an eight-cell embryo and provides genetic information. Thus, IVF allows the doctors to evaluate the chromosomal status of the embryo and find out its gender so to avoid transfer of female or male embryos if an x-linked condition exists. IVF can also identify chromosomal translocations.