Female infertility

What is it?

Infertility is defined as a couple's inability to become pregnant after 12 months (or 6 months if the woman is over 35 or has other risk factors) of unprotected sexual intercourse.

It is estimated that about 15-20% of couples are affected by this condition.

Infertility can originate from a purely male factor (about 15%), from a mixed male and female factor (about 15%) or from a purely female factor (about 55%-60%). It is therefore clear that, with the exception of couples suffering from infertility sine causa (approximately 10-15%), in the majority of cases the female factor is the primary reason for the couple's inability to conceive.

Causes and risk factors

The main female causes of infertility include:

  • Reduction in ovarian reserve (20-30%): advancing age is closely linked to a woman's loss of reproductive capacity: it is enough to think that the possibility of conceiving in a fertile cycle at 30 years of age is around 30-40%, while at 40 years of age it is reduced to 5-10%.
  • Tubal pathologies (10%): lack of patency of the tubes due mainly to infectious-phlogistic processes such as pelvic inflammatory disease;
  • Endometriosis (10-15%): a frequent disease in the fertile age in which endometrial cells, normally present only within the uterine cavity, proliferate either in the ovary, affecting the number and quality of oocytes, or in the tubal or pelvic cavity, causing damage and local inflammation;
  • Ovulation disorders (10%): conditions such as hyperprolactinaemia or polycystic ovary syndrome in which the altered hormonal milieu leads to irregularity or a complete lack of ovulation (anovulatory);
  • Uterine pathologies (5-10%): the presence of congenital malformations (such as uterine septa) or acquired malformations (fibroids or adhesions) or the presence of an acute or chronic inflammatory state (acute or chronic endometritis, endometrial hyperplasia).

How is it diagnosed?

Female infertility can be investigated through various tests. Some of them are performed routinely, while others are only indicated in specific conditions. Tests that can be performed on the female partner during the investigation of infertile couples include:

Suggested exams

How is it treated?

  • Cryopreservation of oocytes for fertility preservation
  • Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue for fertility preservation
  • Transplanted ovarian tissue in a sterile woman

Suggested procedures

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