What Causes Infer tility? 231
Infertility in a woman
The main causes of infertility in a woman are:
1. She has scarring in her tubes or inside her womb. Scarring
in the tube can prevent the egg from moving through the
tube, or the sperm from swimming to the egg. Scarring in the
womb can prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the wall
of the womb. Sometimes a woman gets scarring but does
not know it because she does not feel ill. But years later she
learns she is infertile.
Scarring can be caused by:
• an infection from an untreated STI that goes up into the
womb or tubes (pelvic inflammatory disease or PID).
• unsafe abortion or problems in childbirth that caused
damage or infection in the womb.
• unclean conditions when an IUD is put in that caused an
• problems from an operation of the vagina, womb, tubes,
2. She does not produce an egg (no ovulation). This can be
because the body does not make enough of the needed
hormones at the right time. If her monthly bleedings are less
than 25 days apart, or more than 35 days apart, she may have
a problem with ovulation.
Sometimes a woman does not produce eggs if she loses
weight very quickly, or if she is too fat.
3. She has growths in her womb (fibroids). Fibroids can
prevent conception or make it difficult to carry the pregnancy.
4. Illnesses such as HIV, diabetes, tuberculosis, and malaria can
also make a woman less fertile.
➤ Infertility caused
by infection can be
prevented. For more
information, see page
274 and 279.
Infertility in the woman
1. blocked tube
2. ovary does not
produce an egg
Family Planning Is Safe
Family planning methods are often blamed for
infertility. But family planning methods (other
than sterilization) do not cause infertility except
in some cases when an IUD has not been put in
correctly and causes an infection in the womb
or tubes. For more information, see the chapter
on “Family Planning,” page 197.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012