Health Condition

Female Infertility

About This Condition

Infertility is defined by doctors as the failure to become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse.

It can be caused by sex-hormone abnormalities, low thyroid function, endometriosis, scarring of the tubes connecting the ovaries with the uterus, or a host of other factors. Some of the causes of infertility readily respond to natural medicine, while others do not. The specific cause of infertility should always be diagnosed by a physician before considering possible solutions.


For most infertile women, no symptoms accompany the infertility. Some women with symptoms of obesity, acne, and excessive facial hair; heavy, irregular, or absent menstrual periods; or fluid leaking from the breasts could have hormone imbalances that might interfere with fertility.

Other Therapies

Artificial insemination can be used to place sperm directly in the cervix or uterus. Another more advanced procedure is called “in vitro fertilization,” wherein the egg (collected from the ovary in a surgical procedure) and the sperm are combined under controlled conditions in a laboratory. The fertilized embryo is then implanted into the woman’s uterus.


1. Propping D, Katzorke T. Treatment of corpus luteum insufficiency. Zeitschr Allgemeinmedizin 1987;63:932-3.

2. Gerhard I, Patek A, Monga B, et al. Mastodynon® for female infertility. Randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical double-blind study. Forsch Komplementärmed 1998;5:272-8.

3. Czeizel AE, Metneki J, Dudas I. The effect of preconceptional multivitamin supplementation on fertility. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1996;66:55-8.

4. Sieve BF. The clinical effects of a new B-complex factor, para-aminobenzoic acid, on pigmentation and fertility. South Med Surg 1942;104:135-9.

5. Thiessen DD, Ondrusek G, Coleman RV. Vitamin E and sex behavior in mice. Nutr Metab 1975;18:116-9.

6. Bayer R. Treatment of infertility with vitamin E. Int J Fertil 1960;5:70-8.

7. Mo X, Li D, Pu Y, et al. Clinical studies on the mechanism for acupuncture stimulation of ovulation. J Tradit Chin Med 1993;13:115-9.

8. Chen BY. Acupuncture normalizes dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Acupunct Electrother Res 1997;22:97-108.

9. Gerhard I, Postneek F. Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Gynecol Endocrinol 1992;6:171-81.

10. Hatch EE, Bracken MB. Association of delayed conception with caffeine consumption. Am J Epidemiol 1993;138:1082-92.

11. Stanton CK, Gray RH. Effects of caffeine consumption on delayed conception. Am J Epidemiol 1995;142:1322-9.

12. Williams MA, Monson RR, Goldman MG, et al. Coffee and delayed conception. Lancet 1990;335:1603 [letter].

13. Grodstein F, Goldman MB, Ryan L, Cramer DW. Relation of female infertility to consumption of caffeinated beverages. Am J Epidemiol 1993;137:1353-60.

14. Wilcox A, Weinberg C, Baird D. Caffeinated beverages and decreased fertility. Lancet 1988;2:1453-6.

15. Joesoef MR, Beral V, Rolfs RT, et al. Are caffeinated beverages risk factors for delayed conception? Lancet 1990;335:136-7.

16. Fenster L, Bubbard A, Windhan G, et al. A prospective study of caffeine consumption and spontaneous abortion. Am J Epidemiol 1996;143(11 suppl);525 [abstract #99].

17. Hakim RB, Gray RH, Zacur H. Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility. Fertil Steril 1998;70:632-7.

18. Cramer DW. Letter. Lancet 1990;335:792.

19. Buck GM, Mendola P, Vena JE, et al. Paternal Lake Ontario fish consumption and risk of conception delay, New York State Angler Cohort. Environ Res 1999;80(2 Pt 2):S13-S18.

20. Howe G, Westhoff C, Vessey M, Yeates D. Effects of age, cigarette smoking, and other factors on fertility: findings in a large prospective study. BMJ 1985;290:1697-9.

21. Weinberg CR, Wilcox AJ, Baird DD. Reduced fecundability in women with prenatal exposure to cigarette smoking. Am J Epidemiol 1989;129:1072-8.

22. Grodstein F, Goldman MB, Cramer DW. Infertility in women and moderate alcohol use. Am J Public Health 1994;84:1429-32.

23. Florack EIM, Zielhuis GA, Rolland R. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine intake and fecundability. Prev Med 1994;23:175-80.

24. Hakim RB, Gray RH, Zacur H. Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility. Fertil Steril 1998;70:632-7.

25. Green BB, Weiss NS, Daling JR. Risk of ovulatory infertility in relation to body weight. Fertil Steril 1988;50:621-6.

Copyright © 2020 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.