What are the causes of female infertility?

Infertility is a condition in which a person/couple cannot conceive after trying for a year without success. 

Female infertility can be caused by several factors, including problems with the ovaries, the womb, or the fallopian tubes. Many medical conditions can cause reproductive problems. The following list includes some of the most common causes of female infertility but is not exhaustive. 

Infertility causes in women may include:

Ovulation disorders

Most cases of infertility are caused by an inability to ovulate. Problems with the regulation of reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland or problems in the ovary can cause ovulation disorder. 

Ovulation disorders may include: 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility. PCOS is a disorder that causes a hormone imbalance which affects ovulation in women of reproductive age, with symptoms ranging from menstrual irregularities, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, acne and abnormal hair growth on the body or face. 

Hyperprolactinemia - is a condition in which the pituitary gland (the hormone that stimulates breast milk production) produces too much prolactin and reduces estrogen and testosterone production. In women, too much prolactin can cause menstrual problems and infertility. 

Primary ovarian insufficiency – is the loss of ovarian function before the age of 40. It is usually caused by an autoimmune response or premature loss of eggs from the ovary, possibly due to genetics or chemotherapy.

Premature and early menopause - menopause before the age of 45 is referred to as early menopause. Menopause that occurs before age 40 is referred to as premature menopause. Some causes of early and premature menopause are chemotherapy, lifestyle choices, surgeries on the ovaries or uterus and infections like mumps. Both early and premature menopause affect your ability to get pregnant.

Hypothalamic dysfunction – is a medical condition caused by a disturbance in the pituitary gland hormones that stimulate ovulation. Two hormones produced by the pituitary gland are responsible for stimulating ovulation: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones can be affected by excessive physical or emotional stress, high or low body weight, or recent substantial weight gain or loss. Irregular or absent periods are the most common signs.

Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism - can affect the menstrual cycle and cause infertility.

Fallopian tube damage or blockage 

Damaged or blocked fallopian may prevent the passage of the fertilised egg into the uterus. Causes for damaged or blocked fallopian tubes include previous surgery in the abdomen or pelvis, including laparoscopy or surgery for ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease and infection of the uterus and fallopian tube.


Endometriosis occurs in adolescents and women of reproductive age and is characterised by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity which can block access to the fallopian tubes, it is often associated with chronic pelvic pain and infertility.

The information provided here should not be construed as medical advice and you must discuss your individual situation with a qualified fertility specialist. If you are planning to have a baby, your first step is to make an appointment to see your doctor for a pre-conception check. At humm we have partnered with many fertility providers that can answer your fertility questions. You can secure your first visit now and pay later with regular, interest-free instalments.

Get the humm app
and buy now pay later.