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There are many causes of female infertility. Recognise them in good time!

22.2.2024 · 3 min reading
There are many causes of female infertility. Recognise them in good time! thumbnail

Trying to start a family can be one of the most enjoyable things in a partnership. However, if things don't go well, time is running out, the agonising questions from the family pile up and the pregnancy test is negative month after month, the joy can turn into a stressful affair. What can cause female infertility? What are the most common causes and how can they be recognised early?

At the latest after a year of regular and unsuccessful attempts, people start to talk about infertility. Partners may feel bad, incompetent, frustrated at the thought of having lots of children and being the only ones in the world who don’t make it. But the opposite is true. “Up to twenty per cent of couples struggle with infertility. And it’s a myth that it’s more often the woman’s fault, because more than half of the reasons for infertility lie with the men,” emphasises our IVF doctor Milada Brandejská.


If a woman’s menstrual pain worsens and is accompanied by pain during sex, the cause may be endometriosis. This relatively common condition, in which tissue from the uterine lining forms outside the uterus, can also make it difficult to conceive. 

If the difficulties in conceiving are accompanied by prolonged and often painful menstruation, digestive problems, pain during sexual intercourse or blood in the urine or faeces, it is necessary to consult a doctor. Endometriosis can be completely cured. The main method is surgery, but pelvic surgery can increase the risk of not being able to get pregnant. Another method is pharmacology. In milder forms of the disease, medication is recommended, but it is impossible to become pregnant while taking this medication as it keeps the woman in a state of artificial menopause.

The advanced age of the woman

The days when it was common to get married and expect children at the age of eighteen are long gone. Today, partners deliberately delay starting a family. Perhaps at the expense of their career or simply because they want to enjoy a romantic life together first. But a woman’s ability to get pregnant decreases significantly after the age of 30. “The figures from clinical studies show that the age of thirty-five is the turning point at which the ability to conceive declines much faster, and by the age of 40 the chances of starting a family are only around five per cent,” explains IVF doctor Milada Brandejská.       

Getting pregnant at an older age also harbours greater risks, including an increasing abortion rate. With increasing age, the quality of eggs – and sperm – decreases over time.


Removal of the appendix for acute problems is one of the most common surgical procedures. However, for women who wish to have children, the removal of this organ can be one of the reasons why they are unable to become pregnant. How is this possible? Common postoperative complications after appendectomy, which is performed in the small pelvis, are adhesions that can lead to blockage of the fallopian tube. The risk increases if the woman has had this procedure in childhood or adolescence. If this has happened and the woman has difficulty getting pregnant, she should inform her gynaecologist to arrange an ovarian patency test.

Ovulation disorders

In one in four couples, ovulation complications lead to difficulties conceiving. If menstruation is irregular or does not occur at all, this may be a sign of an ovulation disorder. Polycystic ovary syndrome can also prevent the natural migration of eggs. Cysts form in the ovaries, which impair their function and the permeability of the ducts. Ovulation disorders can often be caused by a thyroid disorder, regardless of whether the function of the thyroid gland is reduced or increased. 

Overweight, stress or poor lifestyle

If you stand on the scales and they show dizzying figures, there are two reasons for this. One is genetic and hormonal and is beyond your control. The other, which is self-inflicted, is a poor lifestyle. In the first case, problems with conception are more common, and hormonal imbalance can cause a number of complications, including irregular periods and thus the inability to conceive.

However, stress associated with worries at work or in private life can also be responsible for secondary infertility. Stress is often underestimated as a factor in infertility. “An overlooked but very important factor in partners’ efforts to get pregnant is simply their physical and mental state.  Regular alcohol consumption, smoking, constant stress, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise. All these factors not only make everyday life more difficult, but can also be the cause of the inability to conceive,” adds IVF doctor Milada Brandejská.

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