Learn about the different causes, possible treatments and psychological consequences associated with infertility in women.
Infertility in women is the attempt to become pregnant by having unprotected sexual intercourse, at least once a year. These problems are becoming more frequent in developed societies.
A third of the time this infertility is a consequence of factors associated with women, although another third of the time it is a consequence of factors associated with men. This article will discuss the causes of women, one of the main ones being the advanced age at which women currently decide to have children. This delay in motherhood is due to several reasons such as economic, work and partner instability and lack of support.
The 6 most common causes of infertility in women
As we have seen, there are different causes for infertility in women, with age and delayed motherhood being one of the main reasons that entail risks and difficulties, but there are some other causes, such as:
- Low quality or insufficient production of ovules: By delaying motherhood, the quantity of ovule production decreases, since the quantity and quality decrease at 35 years of age, compromising the possibility of having children. The solution to this problem is to produce stimulation cycles to accumulate eggs and increase the possibility of becoming pregnant.
- Ovulation problems: Ovulation problems can be caused by hormonal imbalances, these can be controlled with hormonal treatments.
- Infections: Some of the infections can cause problems to fertilize a child since they can have complications, such as sexually transmitted infections. The important thing about these infections is to take antibiotics and treat them properly so that there are no further complications.
- Chronic diseases: In women’s infertility, some chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity or depression must be taken into account. Apart from chronic diseases, some medical treatments can also cause infertility, such as chemotherapy. For these cases, a medical control can avoid infertility or the preservation of ovules before certain treatments.
- Implantation failures: The difficulty of implantation may be due to the fact that advanced age causes developmental problems and risks of miscarriage. Some of the implantation failures may be due to chromosomal alterations or an immunological factor.
- Structural problems of the reproductive system: Some of the most common structural problems are uterine malformations, obstruction of the fallopian tubes, endometriosis or polyps. It will be necessary to study what problem causes it and see what solution can be carried out, surgery being one of them.
Treatment for infertility in women and assisted reproductive techniques
Treatments for infertility in women could be divided into three types:
Pharmacological treatments, surgical treatments and assisted reproduction techniques.
Within pharmacological treatments, drugs that help stimulate ovulation stand out.
Within the assisted reproduction techniques there are several that have had an effective effect, such as intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
- In intrauterine insemination, the most active spermatozoa are selected, to later place them directly in the uterus.
- In vitro fertilization is the best known technique. This includes stimulation of the ovaries, in order to recover the released ovaries. Once extracted, they are fertilized by injecting a single sperm into each oocyte, the ovules are allowed to grow between 2 and 5 days to finally implant the embryos in the woman’s uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is similar to in vitro fertilization but only a single sperm is selected and injected into a single egg.
Psychological consequences of infertility in women
For both women and couples themselves, infertility is a very stressful event, which carries a great psychological burden. Most people have the belief that when they try they will succeed, but when there is no possibility of getting pregnant, reactions of surprise, disbelief, bewilderment and frustration arise.
The psychological consequences can be divided into the two processes associated with infertility in women, these two processes are:
- Pre-diagnosis phase: The couple has been trying to have children for some time and find themselves with a fluctuation of emotions, among which positive feelings, illusion and expectations of achieving it are observed. And when they notice that it is not achieved, sadness, disappointment, despair and frustration are observed, and they can even have obsessive behaviors.
If the couple decides to seek help, feelings of uncertainty, insecurity and expectation arise.
- Infertility treatment: At this time, very positive expectations appear and the mood improves, but when starting the pharmacological treatment, negative physical and emotional effects arise. Sometimes the treatment will have to be suspended and the economic cost will become important, this will have psychological repercussions, and depressive features may appear.
Of the emotional processes that a person undergoing treatment for infertility in women can go through, the associated symptomatology is:
- Feelings of guilt.
- Low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, tendency to devalue oneself as a person and negative self-evaluations.
- Anxiety, frustration and sadness in the face of failure.
- Depressive traits.
- Affectation in the couple relationship and in sexual practices.
- Feelings of fear and lack of self-confidence.
- Social and family isolation.
- Deep sadness, shame and anger.
Remember that… it can be seen that there are different causes of infertility in women, some congenital and some associated with the current developed society, such as delayed motherhood.
These causes have treatments, some work and others have to be abandoned for different reasons, among the treatments that stand out are pharmacological, surgical or assisted reproduction techniques such as the famous in vitro fertilization.
Both the process of knowing that the person is infertile and the process of infertility treatment have psychological consequences such as the different emotional processes, among them the swing of positive and negative emotions.