Fertility / The woman / Female causes of infertility

Female causes of infertility

The causes of infertility are generally due to:

  • Age
  • Anovulation
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • PCO – polycystic ovaries
  • Endometriosis

Female fertility declines with age. This is because there’s a reduction in the number of eggs in the ovaries and the production of sex hormones decreases. Likewise egg quality also reduces as women age. Older women, unfortunately, also have an increased risk of miscarrying. The risk of miscarriage is often due to chromosomal defects in the eggs. The age of the man is also significant to an extent, but not to the same degree.

Predicting the success rate for pregnancies for individuals can be very difficult, but in general, women aged 40 have about a 10% chance of becoming pregnant, women aged 30 have about a 25% chance, and women aged 20 have about a 40% chance.

Anovulation is usually caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), early menopause, excess prolactin levels or low levels of the hormones FSH and LH.

In many cases, hormone stimulation (including an ovulation injection) and/or a change of diet can help women who are experiencing problems with egg ripening and ovulation (PCO). Typically, irregular ovulation/menstrual cycles become regular and we are able to follow up with insemination or IVF.

If the fallopian tubes are either completely or partly blocked, women may find it difficult to become pregnant as the egg cannot pass through the tube or simply fails to enter it. It is also likely that sperm will have problems passing through the fallopian tubes if they are partly or completely blocked.

There may be a number of reasons why the fallopian tubes are partly or completely blocked. A typical cause is previous pelvic infections such as chlamydia. Some people may have had a “silent infection”, which means they experienced no symptoms. Infection can cause adhesions in the fallopian tubes, or the fallopian tubes could be blocked due to pelvic surgery that resulted in the formation of scar tissue/adhesions. Similarly, one or both fallopian tubes may have been surgically removed. Endometriosis may also cause partial or complete blockage of the fallopian tubes. Pregnancy can still occur even when the fallopian tubes are blocked, but IVF is required.

PCO stands for polycystic ovaries. PCO means that there are lots of follicles in the ovaries. PCO is a condition which many women suffer to a greater or lesser degree. PCO is the most common cause of irregular periods often with long intervals between each period, (cycles of more than 35 days) and/ or anovulation.

Women with PCO may have a higher level of testosterone (the male sex hormone), which is why such women often experience excessive hair growth and acne. Women with PCO often have a tendency to be overweight, with excess belly fat.

If you have PCO, we recommend that you change your eating habits and your lifestyle. The aim of the change of diet is to alter the hormonal imbalance typically seen in women with PCO. By all means get in touch with us here at the clinic if you would like to find out more. We can also arrange a consultation with our dietician.

Endometriosis can be a painful and chronic disease and is thought to affect up to 10% of all women. Endometriosis occurs when parts of the endometrium are found outside the uterus. In cases of endometriosis, tissue is typically found on the ovaries (and may form cysts known as "endometriomas” or "chocolate cysts”), on the fallopian tubes, in the bladder, on the intestines or inside the peritoneum. This tissue is affected by the hormones in the same way as the endometrium. The endometrial tissue will also react/bleed during a period, and this can be painful when it happens. However, not all women experience symptoms of endometriosis.


  • Pain before and during menstruation
  • Pain at the time of ovulation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Infertility

As endometriosis varies in severity and the endometrial tissue may occur in different locations from woman to woman, an individual assessment is required to decide which treatment is best for you. If you suffer from endometriosis, we recommend that you speak to one of the doctors at the clinic, your own doctor or a gynaecologist to find out how to proceed.


Stork IVF Klinik | St. Kongensgade 40 H, 1. sal | DK-1264 Copenhagen K
Tel. +45 3257 3316 | Fax +45 3257 3346 | info@storkklinik.dk | CVR. No. 33 03 49 11


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