Causes of female infertility

Problems with Ovulation

Polycystic ovaries

The commonest cause of ovulation problems is Polycystic Ovaries. This is a common condition, affecting one in ten women. It usually presents as irregular periods, weight gain and hirsutism (excessive hair growth). On transvaginal pelvic ultrasound scan it is possible to see the small cysts (around 0.5 cm. diameter each) around the ovaries. The diagnosis is made on the physical findings, hormone blood tests and a pelvic scan. Many women who have polycystic ovary syndrome do not ovulate and require treatment to help them get pregnant. This could be in the form of life-style changes to lose weight, fertility drugs (given in the form of tablets or injections), or a day-case key-hole operation called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (where the inside of the abdomen is examined with a small scope and heat is applied to both ovaries in certain points).


Other causes of not ovulating

There are many other causes of not ovulating. Investigations include pelvic scan and blood tests for hormone levels. Depending on the type of problem, other investigations may sometimes be required. Treatment is often in the form of fertility drugs and is targeted at correcting the underlying condition.