If you are reading this blog, then chances are you already know what infertility is, but let’s go ahead and define it anyway. Generally speaking, infertility is the inability to get pregnant even though you and your partner have been trying for a year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 12% of all women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. To make matters worse, if it’s the woman who is having fertility problems, it can be really hard to figure out why.

What Does It Take To Get Pregnant?

There are actually a lot of factors that have to fall into place before a pregnancy happens. When something goes wrong in any area, your chances for conception fade away. To set the stage, a woman must be ovulating, which is the biological process for producing and releasing eggs, and the man has to have viable sperm to fertilize an egg.

Next, you have to make sure intercourse happens at the right time in your cycle. If you are having a tough time becoming pregnant, your first step should be to find out when you are most fertile. Your doctor can help you out with this. One final thing, in order to get conceive, a woman’s fallopian tubes and uterus must be in good shape. When the fallopian tubes are blocked or constricted, the fertilized egg can’t get where it needs to go, and a healthy uterus is needed to support the baby’s growth and development.

What Usually Causes Infertility?

It can be hard to diagnose why a woman is infertile, but there are some conditions that frequently cause issues. Problems in the area of ovulation are often to blame when it comes to infertility. If you have periods that are irregular, or if you miss one every now and again, then there’s a good chance you have ovulation issues that prevent you from becoming pregnant. Another leading cause of infertility is something called polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition creates a hormone imbalance that results in interruptions to ovulation. 

Can Childhood Trauma Cause Infertility?

There is another factor that can cause fertility problems, but it’s an issue that hasn’t been researched much. I’m talking about childhood trauma. I know a lot of people probably think of sexual abuse when they think of childhood trauma that might cause infertility, but, really, this is just one of the events that potentially impacts fertility. Emotional and physical abuse and neglect are also possibilities, along with:

  • Substance abuse in the household
  • Having a parent who spends time in jail
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Spousal abuse between parents

Now, there has been quite a lot of research on the impacts of these events in other areas of life, but their effects on fertility haven’t received the same attention. I came across one single, significant study that examined the issue. These researchers found that women who had a traumatic childhood were far more likely to have trouble getting or staying pregnant. This may not be a surprise, but it does show that trauma should be considered as a potential cause for infertility.

Infertility issues are stressful, and the more we know about the causes, the easier it is to address the problems. The good news is that once the reasons for infertility are discovered, a lot of the women who get treatment end up getting pregnant and having healthy babies.