Columbia University Fertility Center understands that infertility can be a difficult and frustrating condition. 30% of all causes of infertility are the result of female factors, including ovulation dysfunction, anatomical problems, endometriosis, birth defects, infection, immunological problems, or unknown causes. If you suspect you are experiencing issues with your fertility or are concerned about preserving your fertility for a future pregnancy, it is highly recommended that you seek a medical consultation as soon as possible. Our doctors are experts in the treatment of female infertility, taking on even the most complex cases, and will discuss the available options based on your specific diagnosis. Some potential factors in female infertility include the following:

Ovulation Dysfunction
With this condition, a woman’s reproductive system does not produce the proper amounts of hormones necessary to develop, mature, and release a healthy egg. Ovulation disorder is the most common cause of female infertility. Some conditions associated with ovulation dysfunction are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid issues, and irregular or absent menstrual cycles (amenorrhea).
Tubal Problems
Abnormal development or function of the female anatomy can prevent egg and sperm from joining together.  However, the most common reason sperm cannot get to the egg is due to blocked fallopian tubes caused by previous surgeries or pelvic infections.  The most common pelvic infections are due to chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Endometriosis can cause fertility issues and is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus develops outside the uterus, usually on other reproductive organs inside the pelvis or in the abdominal cavity. Each month, this misplaced tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle by building up and breaking down, resulting in internal bleeding, which can cause scar tissue to form and affect reproductive organ function. This scar tissue can prevent implantation of an embryo.
Uterine Defects
Uterine defects may be associated with infertility and/or recurrent pregnancy loss.  Some women are born with an irregular shaped uterus such as a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus and a septate uterus.  Over time, some women may develop uterine defects such as uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps and uterine scarring.  Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that can grow in areas of the uterus that could prevent implantation of an embryo. Endometrial polyps result from an overgrowth of the tissue that lines the uterus; they too can interfere with the implantation of an embryo.
Infertility and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Pregnancy loss occurs in 15-20% of all pregnancies.  Recurrent pregnancy loss is defined as two or more consecutive pregnancy losses.  Most times a pregnancy loss is a result of chromosomal abnormalities, but there are other factors that can contribute to pregnancy losses.  Advanced age of the female and male will increase the odds of a pregnancy loss.  Besides genetic/chromosomal factors, other factors associated with recurrent pregnancy losses included anatomical defects of the uterus, immunological causes and thrombophilia.  It is important that a couple with more than two consecutive pregnancy losses consult with a fertility specialist before attempting a third pregnancy.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by a type of bacteria and can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or the ovaries and can impact fertility. It can lead to pelvic adhesions and scar tissue that develops between internal organs, causing ongoing pelvic pain and the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg becomes implanted outside the uterus). The most common causes of PID are the sexually transmitted infections gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Treatment Options

If our doctors discover that female factors are affecting your fertility, Columbia Fertility offers the following procedures: