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RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has said that infertility is often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35, it’s diagnosed after six months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.
About 10 percent of women in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WomensHealth.gov outlined pregnancy as a process with many steps. To get pregnant, a woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries. The egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus.
Sperm must fertilize the egg along the way. The fertilized egg must then attach to the inside of the uterus. Infertility can happen if there are problems with any of these steps.
The Mayo Clinic reported that ovulation disorders are a major cause of female infertility. The American Pregnancy Association said that ovulation disorders may be caused by a hormone imbalance; tumors or cysts; eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia; alcohol or drug use; thyroid gland problems; excess weight; stress; intense exercise that causes a significant loss of body fat and extremely brief menstrual cycles.
WomensHealth.gov added that polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance problem, can interfere with normal ovulation.
Other causes of female infertility include premature ovarian failure; blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease; endometriosis; scar tissue, abnormal cervical mucus; and physical problems with the uterus and fibroids.
WomensHealth.gov stressed that age increases the risk of female infertility in several ways. Ovaries become less able to release eggs; a smaller number of eggs remain; the eggs aren’t as healthy; women are more likely to have health conditions that can cause fertility problems; and are more likely to miscarry.