If a woman has a uterus problem, it directly affects her fertility. Abnormalities with the uterus are not uncommon among women. This has to do with the shape of the uterus. Some women have a slightly different shaped uterus, which may be the cause of their infertility or frequent miscarriages.
What is Uterine Factor Infertility?
Uterine factor infertility is the condition where a woman faces infertility due to abnormalities in the uterus. These abnormalities include Uterine fibroids that distort the endometrial cavity, scarring or adhesions from endometrial surgery or infection, Asherman Syndrome, certain malformations in the fallopian tubes, and few malformations in the uterus or uterine cavity before birth.
What is Absolute Uterine Factor Infertility?
Absolute uterine factor infertility refers to infertility that can either be completely attributable to the uterine absence (surgical or congenital) or an abnormality that is anatomical or functional that prevents the implantation of embryo or completion of pregnancy to term.
What are the Causes of Uterine Factor Infertility?
There are many factors that cause uterus infertility. If the shape of the uterus is abnormal, it cannot support a normal pregnancy until full term. Problems with the uterus lining also cause infertility. During implantation, the embryo embeds itself in the uterus lining. If the uterus lining has a problem, it makes a woman infertile, and she cannot conceive.
Polyps: The most common cause of uterus infertility is polyps. It is an abnormal growth of the uterine lining. Polyps are tumorous growths in the uterus but are known as benign tumours. These polyps grow against the endometrial cavity and can hamper the possibility of implantation and conception.
Fibroid: Uterine Fibroid also known as myoma, is a common occurrence in the female uterus. Usually, myomas do not interfere with conception but sometimes can cause a problem, and doctors usually advise removing fibroids before proceeding with pregnancy. Fibroids are occasionally known to disrupt implantation.
Abnormally shaped uterus: Some women are born with an abnormally shaped uterus like a heart-shaped uterus. While a woman with a heart-shaped uterus may conceive she may not be able to carry the baby to term as the heart-shaped uterus does not support the baby growth. A T shaped uterus is very rare, but if a woman does happen to have a T shaped uterus and conceives, she is quite likely to have a miscarriage or preterm birth.
Intrauterine adhesions: Scarring of the uterine lining or some kind of inflammation of the endometrium affects implantation which takes place in the uterine lining. Scarring to the uterus lining can be caused due to surgery such as caesarean section, D&C or removal of fibroids. It is also known as Asherman’s Syndrome and is not uncommon. However, healing is possible over time, and the mother can have a successful pregnancy.
Luteal phase defect: After ovulation, when the egg is fertilised, the uterine lining undergoes certain changes and prepares for the implantation. The Luteal phase defect is when the uterine lining does not undergo the required changes to prepare for the implantation, and hence, this could lead to failure of implantation. These uterine lining changes are initiated by the release of the progesterone hormone in the body.
Thin endometrial lining: When the uterus lining is too thin, it cannot support a pregnancy. This is categorised as endometrial causes of infertility. The lining of the uterus can be checked through an ultrasound. However, there is some debate about what is considered too thin when it comes to the uterine lining. It is very rare for a woman to have an exceptionally thin uterus lining. So there is nothing to worry about.
Congenital uterine abnormalities: There are a few abnormalities with the uterus like unicornuate, septate or bicornuate uterus which can severely affect pregnancy. If the mother is able to conceive, she is at high risk of miscarriage or even preterm births. Usually, with such congenital uterine abnormalities, a woman is not able to conceive and is also advised not to take the risk.
Uterine abnormalities are from birth but are normally only discovered during the time when the woman wants to have a baby or finds that she is not able to have a baby. Uterus problems are of several types, and many of these can severely hinder the ability to conceive or to carry a baby to term. Uterus abnormalities normally lead to miscarriages. Fortunately, uterine abnormalities are very rare.
Very few women suffer from uterus infertility. If you have a condition of uterus infertility, the doctors would generally recommend a surrogate pregnancy rather than risking miscarriage or preterm birth.
How is Uterine Factor Infertility Treatment done?
Careful evaluation is needed in case of uterine factor infertility. Some of the conditions can be treated surgically by removing fibroids, polyps, or scar tissues. However, surgical corrections of uterine malformations are not always necessary. Many women with such issues can still conceive, with the help of right fertility guidance and treatment.
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