What Factors Influence Female Fertility?

Dr. Anthony Cheung, MBBS, MPH, FRCSC, Fertility Specialist, discusses factors that influence female fertility.

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Dr. Anthony Cheung, MBBS, MPH, FRCSC, Fertility Specialist, discusses factors that influence female fertility.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Anthony Cheung, MBBS, MPH, FRCSC     

Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

The factors that affect a woman’s fertility commonly include irregular menstrual cycles or no periods. These conditions can often be corrected easily with medications.

But on occasion some symptoms are so severe that what a woman experiences is much like premature menopause. And those conditions demand more attention. Other factors include: pelvic adhesions or tubal blockage, due to previous pelvic infection or ruptured appendix, or even a condition called endometriosis.  

For these situations specific tests are often necessary. Laparoscopy, for example, is a procedure where a telescope is passed through and into the abdomen under general anesthetic to assess any underlying issues. If no blockages are found or are removed, the woman could be a candidate for in vitro fertilization.

The woman’s age by far is the most important factor in the absence of any other underlying causes. At birth there are approximately two million eggs. By the time a woman reaches puberty only about 600,000 remain. And by age 37 there are about 25,000 eggs. So by the age of menopause there are very few eggs available.  

As there is a very rapid decline in fertility from 35 onwards it is important for a woman to see the family doctor earlier and be referred to a fertility specialist promptly. Being properly assessed at an earlier stage allows for a better chance of natural conception, which is variable but averages 20 per cent per menstrual cycle.
By age 40 the probability of conceiving naturally drops to less than 10 percent per menstrual cycle and may drop to even less than five percent. For more information on your chance of achieving a pregnancy and to identify and correct any potential underlying causes you should see your family doctor early so that you can be properly assessed and, if necessary, be referred to a fertility specialist.

Presenter: Dr. Anthony Cheung, Fertility Specialist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Fertility Specialist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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