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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes women to be infertile?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • VARTA is a statutory authority based in Melbourne, Australia, providing independent, accurate information about fertility, infertility and assisted reproductive treatment (ART). View Profile

    Causes of female fertility problems include:
    ·   Tubal problems
    ·   Endometriosis
    ·   Ovulation problems, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and uterine fibroids and polyps
    ·   Autoimmune (antibody)
     
    When a woman’s body works the way it should, an egg is released during ovulation and travels down the fallopian tube where it  meets with a sperm and conception occurs. Female infertility can be due to problems with ovulation, or obstructions within the reproductive organs. These can be caused by endometriosis - the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, which can block the fallopian tubes; or fibroids or polyps inside the uterus.
     
    Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
    Scarring of the fallopian tubes can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is estimated that even one attack of PID will lead to about a one in five chance of having a blocked tube, and more than one infection causes an even higher risk of a blocked tubes. PID can be caused by the sexually transmitted infections chlamydia and gonorrhoea or by an infection after abdominal surgery.
     
    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
    PCOS is a complex chronic hormonal disorder that affects 12 to 18 per cent of reproductive aged women across Australia. Many women with PCOS experience infertility because PCOS disrupts ovulation.. See Jean Hailes for Women’s Health for more information about PCOS and how to manage it.
     
    Apart from the ovulation problems caused by PCOS, a major reason for female infertility is irregular or absent ovulation caused by other hormone imbalances. An indicator of this is irregular or absent periods.
     
    Lifestyle factors
    There is strong evidence that smoking, heavy drinking and being underweight or overweight have an adverse impact on fertility.
     
    Age
    A woman’s age is the most significant factor in her fertility. A woman’s fertility begins to decline in her early 30s, with the decline speeding up after 35. 

  • Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a leader in women’s health, supported by funding from the Australian Government. We provide trusted and easy-to-understand information to … View Profile

    Jean Hailes, VARTA (above), Andrology Australia and the Robinson Institute have just launched Your Fertility - a campaign to increase Australians' (both men's and women's) knowledge about the factors that affect their ability to conceive and have a healthy baby.
    A woman's age, being over- or underweight, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, PCOS, sexually transmitted infections, environmental toxins, some medical treatments (including certain drugs, cancer treatments and some complementary therapies) and genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome can all reduce their fertility.
    Test your knowledge with our Fertility Quiz at http://yourfertility.org.au

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