About the disease
Female infertility is diagnosed when a woman cannot get pregnant for some reason. Women from South Africa, Central Europe and North America have the highest percentage of female infertility. The number of women suffering from infertility is about 48 million. According to statistics, every 3 couples encounter infertility in their lifetime.
The causes of infertility in females are usually genetic. Poor lifestyle can also affect a woman’s reproductive health. In addition, the causes of female infertility include a variety of factors related to both the pathology of the female reproductive system and the diseases of the female body overall.
A modern classification of female infertility includes:
- Menstrual disorder (35-40%), which is mainly related to disorders of the endocrine glands (endocrine infertility)
- Tubal infertility (20-30%)
- Infertility due to various gynaecological diseases (15-25%)
- Immunological infertility (2%).
A woman has an active sexual life and cannot get pregnant within 6 months.
The diagnosis of female infertility usually includes:
- Monitoring of the woman’s body condition
- Hormonal tests
- Hysteroscopy (allows the doctor to understand the location and nature of the adhesions)
- Uterine ultrasound, which can detect uterine adhesions
Before starting treatment for female infertility, the patient should undergo certain tests, which usually include infection testing, blood test and hormonal tests using ultrasound. These infertility tests take about 1-2 weeks. A thorough diagnosis of female infertility determines what the further treatment plan will be. Depending on the results, the doctor can offer additional diagnosis or choose an optimal infertility treatment, which usually includes only one or a few options offered below:
- If the test results are satisfactory enough and no causes of infertility have been identified, the couple is advised to have the so-called "pre-planned intercourse." There are cases when pregnancy cannot happen due to the incorrect calculation of the ovulation. The doctor can calculate the best time for the conception of the baby. If the problem is purely psychological, the couple is advised to see the psychologist for a family therapy.
- Hormonal treatment for infertility in women is also used. Females take the drugs that stimulate the normal production of the eggs. Hormonal treatment for female infertility increases the likelihood of getting pregnant by several times. Nevertheless, there is a number of negative consequences following hormonal treatment (weight gain, hot and frequent flashes, dryness of the vagina, emotional instability and tendency to be depressed). However, the result justifies all expectations.
- Artificial insemination. If there is a small hormonal disorder in the future mother`s body, artificial insemination can be a treatment option for female infertility. The doctor injects a small amount of husband`s or donor`s sperm into the woman. The probability of getting pregnant by artificial insemination increases by 30% and the procedure is absolutely painless.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF suggests the birth of “the baby in vitro”. The first stage includes general anaesthesia, when the doctor gets the eggs from the female`s ovaries. This is not a surgical operation, but a simple procedure lasting about six minutes. Then the egg is fertilized by the sperm of the husband or of a specifically chosen donor. After the next 72-74 hours, few embryos are placed in the woman's uterus. This procedure is completely harmless. After two or three weeks the woman undergoes an ultrasound, which is able to reveal whether the pregnancy happened or not.
- Surrogation. In case the ovaries do not function properly and do not produce eggs or there are serious hereditary diseases, the woman can use a donor’s egg to get pregnant. At the same time a healthy woman can become a surrogate mother herself. Nevertheless, there are some highly contentious ethical disputes regarding this procedure.
- Recanalization (patency restoration) is used in tubal obstruction, if the cause of infertility is tubal obstruction.