What is infertility?

Infertility is “a condition of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.


For a woman, infertility (or a state of subfertility) can manifest itself as either:

  • The inability to become pregnant
  • An inability to maintain a pregnancy & carry the fetus to a live birth.

What causes female infertility?

There are many possible causes of infertility. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, and some couples have “unexplained” infertility or “multifactorial” infertility (multiple causes, often both male and female factors).

  • Hormone imbalances that prevents ovulation.
  • Irregular menstrual cycle.
  • Obesity.
  • Being underweight.
  • Having a low body-fat content from extreme exercise.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Structural problems (problems with the fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries).
  • Uterine fibroids.
  • Cysts & Tumors 
  • Autoimmune disorders (Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, Thyroid gland conditions).
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Primary Ovary Insufficiency (POI).
  • Excessive substance use (heavy drinking).
  • Smoking.
  • DES syndrome (DES is a medication that was given to women to prevent complications in pregnancy like premature birth or miscarriage. However, this medication has caused infertility in some of the children of mothers who took DES.).
  • A past Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Management & Treatment:

Management of infertility ranges from counseling and advice to medications and surgery. Counseling of both partners is an important aspect in the management of infertility with medical and psychological support to the couple. Counseling is provided for the healthy life style measures.
  • Healthy eating habits-
  • Adding more whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables.
  • Limiting processed foods and foods with added sugars, eating a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats
  • Promote regular exercise
  • No smoking (avoid passive smoking)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Folic acid supplementation in women.
  • Advice on rubella vaccination if seronegative

Source: World Health Organization