Ask the doctor: what causes infertility in a woman?

Ask the doctor: what causes infertility in a woman?

Ask the doctor: what causes infertility in a woman?

Ask the doctor: what causes infertility in a woman?

No woman likes to be barren. Being baren is such a sad thing that even the bible consistently references it as one of the tragedies of life.

Every woman wishes to have children but in the event that they fail; sadness, ridicule, and even loss of a marriage can ensue. No one likes to live like that.

Infertility refers to the failure to get pregnant(conceive) after repeated attempts and can be classified into;

  • primary infertility: This is when a woman of an active reproductive age has never gotten pregnant even after having unprotected live sex for more than a year, without any history of contraception.
  • secondary infertility: This is used to refer to a condition when a woman has actually ever gotten pregnant but has failed to conceive in the last 6 months while having unprotected sex and has not been on any contraceptive method in and around that period.

Infertility though is different from sterility which is a condition when there’s no chance for pregnancy. Infertility generally represents a reduced potential for pregnancy.

So what causes a woman to be infertile?

A number of things can make a woman infertile which include;

  • Ovulation problems:for example
    1)anovulation; the absence of ovulation. This can be caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome,PCOS.
    2) Oligovulation; here a woman ovulates occasionally several times a year. This makes it hard to get pregnant.
  • Problems of the tubes: for example;
    1)blockage: Fallopian tubes can be blocked or
    2)Scarring:Here tubes are not blocked but can be closed off and damaged due to scars. Blockage of tubes can be caused by infection(pelvic inflammatory disease), endometriosis or scars from a previous surgery.
  • Age:With increasing age, the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs go down. You may wonder why..It’s because a woman is born with all her eggs at birth. They cannot divide or be resupplied, whereas sperms are produced constantly after puberty! So chances of pregnancy begin dropping very fast after age 35. Very few women over 44 are still fertile and miscarriages increase as the mother ages.
  • problems of the uterus: (Note:the uterus is the muscle which holds the baby). These include:
    1)Fibroids; which are abnormal growths in the walls of the uterus.
    2)Polyps; These are outgrowths in the wall of the uterus that can trouble implantation of the fetus.
    3)Scars; Sometimes the uterus develops scars as a result of disease or previous surgery.This troubles implantation and often leads to many miscarriages
    4)Congenital malformations; Sometimes a woman is born with a deformed uterus which can be bicornuate,T-shaped or having a septum in between.(Don’t mind the terms.)

Of course there are other things that can make a woman infertile but they are much less common. Just remember that should you try conceiving on your own for 12 months or more, you need to talk to a doctor for advice. Go to a health center, clinic or contact any of our `online doctors at for immediate help on the way forward. Our doctors are always available to serve you any time from anywhere.

If you are a woman above 35 years of age and you fail to conceive by yourself within 6 months of having regular unprotected sex, please don’t wait for a whole 12 months; endeavor to contact a doctor only after 6 months for assistance.

About the author

Samuel Kagamba is a medical doctor,computer programmer and entrepreneur; very passionate about developing technologies to improve healthcare delivery in Africa.Off duty, he loves soccer and making new friends.Follow him on twitter
@samuelkagamba or email him at facebook account: Samuel Kagamba.

Samuel Kagamba – who has written posts on Aferdoc Blog.

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