Female causes of infertility

The female causes of infertility often are:

  • Lacking ovulation
  • Tubal blockage
  • PCO – Polycystic ovary
  • Endometriosis

Lacking ovulation

Lacking ovulation is often caused by polycystic ovary, premature menopause, a too high level of prolactine, or a too low level of the hormones FSH and LH.

Women who have problems with maturation of the eggs and the ovulation can often be helped through medication. For some women irregular menstruation can be compared with a clock that is wrong. We set the clock right through medication, and the menstruation and the ovulation will become regular. Usually we combine the medical treatment with insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

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Tubal blockage

Some women have contracted or completely blocked uterine tubes. Other women have no uterine tubes, because they have been removed by an operation, for instance after an extra uterine pregnancy. If you have blocked uterine tubes, it can be difficult to become pregnant, as the egg is either destroyed in the uterine tube or will not be caught by the uterine tube and therefore disappear into the abdominal cavity. Similarly, it is difficult for the man’s sperm cells to penetrate the uterine tube, if it is contracted or completely blocked.

Therefore, you will not become pregnant.

There are several causes of tubal blockage. The woman can be born with a contacted passage, which might result in extra uterine pregnancies, and the uterine tubes are to be removed. Likewise, inflammation of the internal female organs, for instance because of a chlamydia infection, an abdominal operation, or endometriosis can lead to adhesions of the uterine tubes. Operations in uterus can also damage the function of the uterine tubes.

If your problem is tubal blockage, you can still become pregnant, but it will not happen through natural fertilisation. In case of tubal blockage the treatment will be in vitro fertilisation, where the egg is fertilised outside the uterus in a laboratory, after which the fertilised egg will be transferred into the uterus for normal growth.

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  • In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)


PCO means Polycystic Ovary. PCO is a disease that affects every 7th woman, the extent being varying. PCO is the most frequent cause of lacking or disturbed ovulation.

PCO means that you have an abnormal high number of follicles, which disturb your ovulation. In a normal cycle one egg overtakes the other eggs during the maturation and this leads to ovulation of one single egg. In PCO patients the follicles mature at the same pace, this causes the process to stop and ovulation will not take place.

Women with PCO have a higher level of male sex hormones, and other symptoms like hirsutism and acne are often seen in PCO patients. A tendency to obesity, where the fat is centred on the abdomen is also seen. Some women have no noticeable symptoms of PCO.

There are various degrees of PCO and degrees of PCO symptoms. The degree of PCO therefore influences the chosen individual treatment. Typically, it is a combination of medical treatment, which induces maturation of the egg and then ovulation. The choice could be to combine the medical treatment with either insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

If you have PCO and are overweight, we recommend you to loose weight, as the fat transforms male hormones, which will destroy the maturation of the egg. If you are a PCO patient and overweight, we can help you to loose weight in our PCO clinic together with other PCO patients.

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Endometriosis can be a painful, chronic and mysterious disease. We believe that it affects 2-4% of all women.

Endometriosis arises when part of the endometrium also is present in the abdominal cavity outside the uterus. Usually the endometrial tissue occurs in the abdomen, on the ovaries and on the uterine tubes. This tissue is influenced by the hormones like in the endometrium and grows towards the menstruation. Unlike the endometrium the endometrial tissue cannot get rid of the bleeding and instead of disappearing through the uterus the blood runs into the abdominal cavity. This results in a form of infection and cysts of blood in the abdominal cavity and can be very painful.

Symptoms of endometriosis are typically:

  • Pain prior to and during menstruation
  • Pain at the ovulation
  • Pain during coitus
  • Infertility
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstruation

Some women have no noticeable symptoms of endometriosis.

It is still unclear what causes endometriosis, but the disease is thought to be hereditable.

Since there are various degrees of endometriosis and since endometriosis occurs on different places from woman to woman, it is an individual evaluation to find the best treatment. A successful treatment in one woman might not be the right treatment for another. Endometriosis can be treated medically and/or through a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a minor surgical procedure, where part of the endometrial tissue is removed. A laparoscopy is performed in hospital and in full anesthesia.

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Progress with PGD for Sickle Cell prevention
Studies in Denmark and Belgium.

Good IVF success rates after single embryo transfers
Transferring one IVF embryo, followed by a second, is almost as likely to result in a pregnancy as transferring two at a time.

IUI workshop
At University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital

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