HomeInfertilityFemale Infertility: Factors That Can Affect a Woman’s Reproductive Health

Female Infertility: Factors That Can Affect a Woman’s Reproductive Health


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Studies suggest that the global prevalence of infertility has increased by 14.962%, which is quite a huge increase. From one’s age to ovulation disorders, the risks of female infertility depend on several factors.

Since a woman’s reproductive anatomy and physiology is quite complex, understanding the potential cause of infertility helps treat the issue to promote a healthy and safe conception.

If you are wondering about the causes of female infertility and the associated risk factors, we will explain all of that in detail in this article.

What are the Signs of Female Infertility?

To understand the causes or triggers behind female infertility, it is essential to understand what it means.

Infertility is a medical disorder that leads to the ability to conceive a baby despite engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse for 12 months and more. Around 40% of infertility in couples is influenced by female factors, which we will discuss in detail in this article.

Coming to the signs of female infertility, it is generally the inability to get pregnant. However, age plays a crucial role in determining the severity of the infertility symptoms.

If you are 35 and over, consider seeking medical intervention if you can’t get pregnant naturally after 12 months of persistent trying.

What are the Factors that Influence Female Infertility?

The causes and risks behind female infertility are quite extensive and diverse. In some cases, doctors often cannot pinpoint a particular reason behind the fertility concerns, thereby diagnosing the patient with idiopathic or unexplained infertility.

Some of the most common causes of female infertility are:

1. Ovulation Disorders

More than the age of the female, ovulation disorders contribute to 25% of the issues related to female infertility.

Generally, the issue is directly associated with improper hormonal balance in the body, leading to a lack of follicular maturation and the release of the eggs from the ovaries. The issue can also directly indicate primary ovarian insufficiency, an autoimmune response wherein the ovarian reserve is either depleted to a non-existent amount or involves premature loss of the eggs.

The condition is typically common in females undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment.

Besides that, ovulation disorder can also be a sign of:

2. Age

When discussing female infertility factors, age deserves a mention in the top 3 in the list. Since women have a limited ovarian reserve, female fertility is very age-restrictive.

This is why most doctors often emphasize that a female’s reproductive health starts declining when they hit 35. By 40 years, the chances of a successful pregnancy deplete with every menstrual cycle.

There are alternative methods like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which is transforming the facet of female reproductive health. However, it is still crucial to consider carrying a baby before the age of 35 to optimize and enhance the chances of a successful pregnancy.

3. Tubal Infertility

Our fallopian tubes are often put on the sidelines when discussing female reproductive health. However, their role in embryo fertilization and a successful pregnancy is profound.

It is in the fallopian tube where the sperm and the egg fertilize to form the embryo, which later transforms into the fetus in the uterus.

Any kind of blockages or obstructions in the fallopian tubes can lead to risks of female infertility. The damage often inhibits the fertilization process, leading to an unsuccessful pregnancy, despite engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.

Some of the common factors that contribute to tubal infertility include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Surgical complications
  • History of ectopic pregnancy
  • Infections

4. Uterine Complications

Another crucial part of the female reproductive system that harbors the most important role during pregnancy is the uterus.

However, complications like fibroids, polyps, adhesions, excess tissue growth, etc., in the uterus can lead to complications with female fertility.

Congenital disabilities like septum are present at birth and often contribute to female infertility down the road as the individual enters adulthood and reproductive age.

Most of these uterine complications, especially fibroids and polyps, are treatable with surgical interventions. So, if you have a diagnosis of any of these issues and are having a hard time getting pregnant, we’d recommend discussing your treatment plan with your doctor.

5. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful medical condition wherein tissues that grow in the inner endometrial lining of the uterus grow outside of it. They can grow in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or even in the non-reproductive parts of the body like the intestines.

The condition leads to irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalance, and poor reproductive health, which are major triggers of female infertility.

Most women with endometriosis have successful fertilization of the egg and the sperm but experience issues with the uterine implantation, leading to an unsuccessful pregnancy.

If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, consult your doctor about treatment and management of the condition from an earlier stage to support your fertility and conceive a child naturally down the road.

6. Genetic Predisposition

When you are struggling with infertility, it is very easy to blame one’s self. However, you need to realize that a lot of internal and external factors play a role in the reproductive health of an individual – including your genetics.

If anyone in our family has a history of female infertility or an early menopausal age, there are chances that the same might be the case with you as well.

Getting an earlier diagnosis is crucial in that case. Not only will it help you plan better, but knowing the odds will also help you plan a pregnancy early on before it’s too late. You can also freeze your eggs when you know that your genetics might prevent you from successfully conceiving down the road.

7. Anatomical Complications

Female infertility is often an outcome of damage or injury to the reproductive system. It could be trauma-induced or even due to some prevalent diseases like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

PID is an infection that leads to tubal blockages or even uterine damage down the road. Lack of timely female infertility treatment can lead to deterioration of the condition and the formation of cysts and blockages in the reproductive anatomy of the patient.

Besides that, congenital anatomical abnormalities are also a possible complication that can lead to female infertility. This typically includes an abnormally shaped uterus, defects in the fallopian tubes, etc.

8. Potential Risk Factors

Besides the general medical complications mentioned, some of the common risk factors that contribute to female infertility include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being underweight
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
  • Infections
  • Tumors and cysts
  • History of ectopic pregnancy
  • Ill habits like smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Age of the patient
  • History of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Chronic stress, etc.

These risk factors further augment the onset of infertility and make it difficult for the patient to get pregnant naturally. Handling or regulating these risk factors might reverse the risks of infertility and enable one to get pregnant without any assisted technologies.


Getting infertility treatment for female individuals is now accessible and easy to navigate. Suppose you are struggling to get pregnant even after trying for over a year. In that case, we recommend you consult your gynecologist or a fertility specialist near you for a comprehensive diagnosis and an aligned treatment. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the better your chances of conceiving naturally.


Does lifestyle affect female fertility?

Lifestyle plays a very crucial role in female infertility. Poor lifestyle choices like leading a sedentary lifestyle or eating an unhealthy diet can lead to irregular hormonal balance and reduced chances of a successful pregnancy.

Does age impact female fertility?

Age plays a primary role in female infertility since it’s tied with the ovarian reserve. The availability of eggs in the ovary gradually depletes with age, reducing pregnancy chances.

What tests can determine female infertility?

There are no standard tests to detect female infertility. However, your doctor might run a few blood and imaging tests, including pap smear, physical examination, pelvic ultrasound, etc., that can detect issues pertaining to the reproductive health of the individual.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.


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