Information for Patients
Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying (or 6 months if the woman is over age 35). If a woman keeps having miscarriages, it is also called infertility. Female infertility can result from age, physical problems, hormone problems, and lifestyle or environmental factors.
Most cases of infertility in women result from problems with producing eggs. In primary ovarian insufficiency, the ovaries stop functioning before natural menopause. In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries may not release an egg regularly or they 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 think you might be 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, many couples treated for infertility are able to have babies.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health