What is female infertility?
Female infertility is diagnosed when a woman is unable to get pregnant after 1-2 years of fertile sexual intercourse, even though it might still be possible for her to conceive. The loss of reproductive capacity is especially linked to age; in fact at 30 years of age the chances of conceiving range between 30% and 40%, percentage that decreases to 10% at 40 years of age. There are different causes that may determine infertility and many are related to psychosocial factors due to conditions like lifestyle, search for the first child at a late age, drug use, alcohol abuse, smoking, working conditions, pollution and also anatomical problems.
What are the possible anatomical causes of female infertility?
Among the principal anatomical causes of female infertility, the peritoneal factor, which is an obstruction or lesion of the Fallopian tubes, is one of the most important. However, other pathologies of the female reproductive system like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are also significant in terms of female fertility. An alteration of the Fallopian tubes, that may be partial or total, impedes the movement of the egg from the ovaries to the uterus, thus impeding fecundation. These alterations are often linked to extrauterine pregnancy episodes in which the implantation of the embryo occurs in areas different from the uterine cavity causing an early interruption of pregnancy. Endometriosis instead involves the abnormal presence of endometrium in organs different from the uterus, which may cause an obstruction of the tubes or the formation of ovarian cysts that impede a potential pregnancy. Last but not least, also polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a pathology characterised by irregular menstrual cycles and absent ovulation, leads to a reduction of female fertility.