Infertility is usually only diagnosed if a woman hasn’t gotten pregnant after a year of trying. Mayo Clinic notes that an estimated 10-18% of couples have trouble conceiving, in fact, it’s believed that female and/or male infertility affects millions of couples in the United States alone[1]. It’s important to keep in mind that many infertile couples will go on to conceive without the help of any treatment.

Some causes of infertility in women include [2]:

  • Ovulation disorders
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • Endometriosis

See also: How Can You Promote Healthy Fertility?


Causes of infertility in women


It’s common for couples not to suspect they have fertility issues until they start trying to conceive, the cause can sometimes be unknown but some of the most common causes for infertility among women include:


Ovulation disorders


Ovulation disorders refer to a number of conditions that may affect a woman’s hormones and her ovulation - meaning you may ovulate infrequently or not ovulate at all. Some ovulation disorders include [3]:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hypothalamic dysfunction
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency

Uterine abnormalities


Uterine abnormalities refer to problems in the womb which can interfere with implantation. A congenital uterine abnormality occurs when a woman’s uterus or womb is formed in an uncommon way before birth, other forms include [4]:

  • Benign polyps or tumors
  • Endometriosis
  • Cervical stenosis (a narrowing of the cervix)

Fallopian tube damage or blockage


Fallopian tube damage or blockage is commonly caused by salpingitis - an inflammation of the fallopian tube. This usually results from pelvic inflammatory disease; sometimes caused by a sexually transmitted infection or endometriosis [5].


Endometriosis


Endometriosis occurs when tissue which normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside of it. This can affect the lining of the uterus and may also block fallopian tubes and stop the egg and sperm from coming together [6].


Can taking contraception impact your fertility?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 64.9% of the 72.2 million women aged 15–49 in the United States use some form of contraception:

  • 18.6% choose female sterilization
  • 12.6% choose to take the oral contraceptive pill
  • 10.3% choose long-acting reversible contraceptives (such as IUDs and implants)
  • 8.7% choose to use the male condom

But, is taking birth control going to affect your ability to get pregnant if you decide you’d like to start a family? The good news is that there is no evidence that birth control can directly impact your fertility - though the type of birth control you decide to use may determine how long it takes for your fertility levels to get back to normal.


Types of birth control and their effects on fertility


Birth control is one of the most effective and popular ways to prevent pregnancy when you’re not ready to have a little one of your own. There are a number of contraceptive options to choose from - each of which will have a different impact on how long it takes for your fertility to return to normal.


Non-hormonal contraceptives


When you stop using non-hormonal contraceptives, your natural fertility levels should return to normal straight away.

Non-hormonal contraceptive methods include:

  • Condoms
  • Diaphragms
  • Copper coils

Hormonal contraceptives


Hormonal contraceptives work by changing the levels of hormones in your body. These are known to affect the length of time it takes for your fertility levels to return to normal but it’s important to remember that they will return to normal!

Hormonal contraceptive methods include:

  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Vaginal ring
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Mini-pill (or progesterone-only pill)
  • Intrauterine system (IUS)
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Contraceptive injection

One of the most reliable ways to know more about your current fertility status is with a fertility test. This can be done by taking a visit to your doctor or from home with an at-home fertility test.

LetsGetChecked’s range of Female Fertility Tests provide a broad picture of a woman’s hormonal health. This can provide you with an insight into your current fertility status with online results available in just 5 days and medical support available over-the-phone for support and guidance.



References

  1. Mayo Clinic. Female infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  2. Mayo Clinic. Female infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  3. Mayo Clinic. Infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  4. Mayo Clinic. Female infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  5. Mayo Clinic. Infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  6. Mayo Clinic. Female infertility. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019