Female infertility problems are most often caused by either a defect in the woman’s ovulation or by damage to her fallopian tubes. Less common causes of female infertility include the following problems: advancing age, abnormal menstrual patterns, suppression of ovulation and gynecological disorders. That latter category takes-in endometriosis, fibroids and the development of a woman’s immunological reaction to a man’s sperm.
A couple that seeks treatment for female infertility should schedule visits to a counselor as well as an OB-GYN specialist. A woman who learns that she lacks the ability to have a child without special help often feels the absence of a sufficient amount of “femininity.” A great many women look forward to pregnancy and childbirth. A diagnosis of female infertility frequently gives such women a sense of loss.
Assisted reproductive technology offers infertile couples access to a fertility treatment with which they feel comfortable. Such treatments include microsurgery, which is often performed with lasers. That infertility treatment can open a blocked egg or sperm duct.
Some couples choose to use the new hormone preparations, which induce ovulation. On occasion, a woman elects to have a balloon placed through her cervix. When inflated, that balloon will open blocked fallopian tubes.
Despite the availability of the above-mentioned fertility treatments, a majority of infertile couples decide to use in vitro fertilization. During that procedure an egg is fertilized in a Petri dish. The fertilized egg can be either replace in the womb of the egg donor, or in the body of a woman who has agreed to carry the developing child for 9 months—a surrogate mother.
The lagging interest that infertile couples have shown for the use of assisted reproductive technology has presented society with a number of contentious issues. Some women who look to a surrogate mother for assistance with starting a family find that that woman later wants to keep the child that she has been carrying. Such a woman finds that her problems with female infertility have been compounded by her search for a way around that same problem.
Questions have also arisen when in vitro fertilization leads to the freezing of fertilized eggs, in hopes that an infertile couple will have an expanding family in the future. Society can not come to agreement over the moral issues raised by that practice. Should such fertilized eggs be used as a source of embryonic stem cells?
While society still struggles to find answers to all the questions raised by the solutions to female infertility, no large group of people has suggested an end to the use of such solutions. Such solutions bring great rewards to infertile couples.