Other causes of female infertility
The causes of infertility may be found in the male or female partner, but in most cases (70-80%) it is a combination of factors in both partners.
In most cases infertility has no hereditary cause, but is due to acquired factors. In 1970, for example, around 90% of women and men were still under the age of 30 when their first child was born, while today more than a quarter of couples are over 30. From the age of 30 onwards women’s fertility declines, and this accelerates further after 35 and 40; the quality of men’s sperm reduces slowly after the age of 40.
Fallopian tubes are the “conveyor belt” that takes the sperm cells to the egg cell and the fertilized egg cells (embryos) toward the cavity of the uterus. If the fallopian tubes are partially or fully blocked, it is harder or impossible for the sperm cells to reach the egg or the embryo to reach the uterus (risk of a tubal pregnancy). Blocked tubes can be caused by inflammations, previous tubal pregnancies, surgery or endometriosis (where tissue from the lining of the uterus forms and grows outside the uterus).
Muscle knots in the uterus (myoma or uterine fibroids) are very common. Sometimes, especially if they sit near the mucosa, they are the reason for persistent infertility or recurrent miscarriages. In such cases, the problem can often be resolved through surgery. The cervix in design is , similar to a bottle-neck, the narrowest point for the sperm towards the egg. Scarring post surgery, inflammation or obstructions in this area can severely hinder reproductivity.
In rare cases - usually congenital - abnormalities in the reproductive organs represent the reason for infertility. These conditions are surgically remedied relatively easily.
Sometimes the cause of the non-occurrence of pregnancy is the mucous membrane not developing properly, thus not allowing the embryo to implant. In addition to the non-response of the mucosal cells to the various hormones and growth factors, diseases such as endometriosis and chronic infections may adversely affect the complicated process of implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining. The causes of such problems and the evaluation of possible therapeutic approaches are a significant focus of our current research activities.
In rarer cases an immune response disorder is the cause of infertility in a woman. In women suffering from this dysfunction, the immune system sees the egg cell or the sperm as a foreign body which it then attacks.
A variety of hormones interfere with the growth of the oocytes in the ovary, as well as the events surrounding the fertilization and implantation of the embryo in the uterus. If respective hormone levels are out of balance, oocyte maturation and ovulation, the growth of the uterine lining or the formation of the corpus luteum may be adversely affected.