National Institutes of Health
- The primary NIH organization for research on Female Infertility is the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Infertility is a term doctors use if a woman hasn't been able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying. If a woman keeps having miscarriages, it is also called infertility. Female infertility can result from physical problems, hormone problems, and lifestyle or environmental factors.
Most cases of infertility in women result from problems with producing eggs. One problem is premature ovarian failure, in which the ovaries stop functioning before natural menopause. In another, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries may not release an egg regularly or may not release a healthy egg.
About a third of the time, infertility is because of a problem with the woman. One third of the time, it is a problem with the man. Sometimes no cause can be found.
If you suspect you are infertile, see your doctor. There are tests that may tell if you have fertility problems. When it is possible to find the cause, treatments may include medicines, surgery, or assisted reproductive technologies. Happily, two-thirds of couples treated for infertility are able to have babies.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)