About the causes of infertility
There can be many causes of infertility or involuntary childlessness. At StorkKlinik we carry out a number of investigations that may uncover the cause of infertility in the woman. This can give a clear picture of which treatment will be the right one.
Causes of infertility in the woman
Typical causes of infertility in the woman:
Stress, certain types of medicines, weight or metabolic disorders may be the causes of infertility in the woman. These factors can affect the production and excretion of hormones and thus can cause a hormonal imbalance. A hormonal imbalance can have a major effect on the menstrual cycle. Egg ripening and subsequent ovulation may therefore be disturbed or not happen at all.
Poor fallopian tube function
Following ovulation, the egg is released into the fallopian tube, where the sperm cells have the opportunity to fertilise the egg. In about one-third of women, the fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked and may be the cause of infertility. The reason that the fallopian tubes are damaged may be due to infection, a previous pregnancy outside the womb (an ectopic pregnancy in the fallopian tube) or a woman may have adhesions following an operation. Endometriosis, which is the spontaneous growth of the lining of the womb (the endometrium), is also a common cause of infertility. Endometriosis causes blockage of the fallopian tubes so that it is difficult for the sperm cells to reach the egg.
Fibroids in the muscles of the womb
Infertility may be due to benign growths in the muscles of the womb; in the womb, in the walls of the womb and outside the womb. Even if these tumours are benign, they may, depending on their size and location, affect fertility. The reason is that the fibroids in the uterus takes up space and prevent the fertilised egg from attaching to the endometrium. If the fibroid presses on the fallopian tubes or the neck of the womb (the cervix), it can make fusion of sperm cells and the egg difficult. The effects of myomas are typically bleeding between periods or an inflammatory condition. Fibroids can also have a negative effect on fertilisation and implantation of the embryo.
Malformation of the reproductive organs
In order for the egg to be fertilised, the reproductive organs should be intact. About 5% of women have malformation of the ovaries, the fallopian tubes or the womb. These malformations could be the cause of infertility. Malformations occur in various degrees and are typically hereditary.
Antibodies to sperm cells
If the woman’s body registers sperm cells as undesirable foreign bodies, antibodies in the cervical mucus will develop against sperm cells or impair their motility. This will prevent fertilisation. Here this is typically an immunological problem that is the cause of infertility.
Investigations that can reveal infertility:
- Ultrasound scans can look at the reproductive organs
- Blood tests can determine hormone levels
- X-ray using a contrast agent can check if the fallopian tubes are blocked
- Laparoscopy (often referred to as “key hole surgery”) can look at the abdomen and treat minor blockage.