FAQ Causes of infertility

Infertility is the main reason for starting a fertility treatment. If you have a question about male or female infertility, our FAQ answers everything from endometriosis to polycystic ovary syndrome.

Ovarian hyperstimulation

What is ovarian hyperstimulation?

Hyperstimulation is a complication of ovarian stimulation treatment. The ovaries produce a factor that allows water contained in the blood vessels to pass into the peritoneal cavity. This can lead to abdominal bloating, pain and an increased risk of phlebitis.

What causes hyperstimulation?

Hyperstimulation is always triggered by the bHCG hormone (contained in the ovitrella or secreted at the start of pregnancy) only in patients at risk (many follicles punctured, young, thin women with polycystic ovary syndrome).

What does HSO mean?

HSO stands for Ovarian Hyperstimulation.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is defined by an increased number of antral follicles and irregular menstrual cycles.

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?

The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are hyperandrogenism, manifested by acne and increased hair growth.

How many women are affected by polycystic ovary syndrome?

It affects 5 to 10% of women.

What treatments are available for polycystic ovary syndrome?

Women who simply have long cycles - for example 35-36 days - often do not require treatment. If ovulation is more irregular - longer cycles - treatment should be considered. If the woman is trying to conceive, ovulation should be induced artificially so that fertilisation can take place and a pregnancy can develop.


What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial cells (endo-uterine tissue) outside the uterine cavity. It is estimated that 10% of women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The main symptom is pain during menstruation or sexual intercourse.

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of endometriosis is based on the observation of lesions in the abdominal cavity. This requires laparoscopy, which is an invasive procedure and therefore not routinely performed. Other imaging tools, such as pelvic ultrasound, MRI or endorectal ultrasound, can be used to clarify the diagnosis.

How many women are affected by endometriosis?

It is estimated that 10% of women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis.

What is the link between endometriosis and infertility?

30% to 40% of women with endometriosis suffer from infertility.

Uterine factors

What is a fibroid?

A fibroid is a benign tumour made up of muscle fibres in the uterus. It can affect fertility if the fibroid is located in the uterine cavity.

What is uterine synechia?

This is an adhesion between two tissues of the uterus that stick together abnormally as a result of a lack of endometrium in the uterine mucosa.

What is a uterine polyp?

A uterine polyp is an outgrowth of the lining of the uterus of varying size. They can cause irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, light bleeding between periods and infertility.

What is a uterine malformation?

This is an interruption in the development of the female reproductive system, which can result in gynaecological disorders and infertility.

What is a uterine septum?

A septate uterus is the presence of a septum within the uterus. It is a frequent cause of miscarriage and infertility.

Male infertility

What is oligoteratospermia (OAT)?

Oligoteratospermia is a decrease in sperm mobility and a decrease in the rate of typical forms.

What is an OAT?

OAT is a decrease in sperm mobility and a decrease in the rate of typical forms.

Unexplained or idiopathic infertility

How many people are affected by unexplained infertility?

Unexplained infertility affects around 15% of couples following a fertility journey.

What is unexplained infertility?

Idiopathic infertility is defined as the absence of any cause found after the doctor has questioned the couple and carried out the first-line complementary tests performed on couples consulting for infertility.

Menstrual cycle and ovarian reserve

What is a follicle?

A follicle is a spherical aggregate of cells in the ovaries, containing the oocyte which is released during ovulation.

How is ovarian reserve assessed?

Ovarian reserve is assessed by means of a hormone test conducted between the second and fifth day of menstruation. This involves assessing the stock of pre-antral follicles: AMH, and a pelvic ultrasound with follicle counts.

What is ovarian reserve?

The ovarian reserve, also known as the oocyte reserve, is the number of oocytes (eggs) present in the ovaries. It is a key factor in a woman's fertility.

What is the correct AMH level for getting pregnant?

AMH or Anti-Mullerian Hormone is a key factor in the fertility assessment to evaluate ovarian reserve. Normal AMH levels are between 2.45 and 5.95ng/ml on the 3rd or 4th day of the menstrual cycle. When it is non-detectable, this means that the ovarian reserve is very low.

What is immunology?

Immunology is the branch of biology that deals with the immune system. The immune system is the system that enables the human body to recognise the SELF from the non-SELF.

What is the DHEA cure?

DHEA is a hormone that contains androgens and, according to some studies, is likely to improve ovarian reserve.

How are tubes assessed?

Assessment of the fallopian tubes is carried out by a specialist radiologist using a procedure called hysterosalpingography. He inserts a catheter into the uterus and injects a radio-opaque iodine product. X-rays are then taken to assess tubal permeability based on the diffusion of the contrast product.

If ovulation is natural, how big can the follicle be?

A follicle generally ovulates when it reaches a size of 16 to 20 mm.

What is the difference between follicles and oocytes?

These are extremely different elements. The follicles contain the oocytes.

What is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days and allows ovulation, i.e. the production of an ovum (or oocyte or egg) that can be fertilised and result in pregnancy.

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