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Infertility in Women

Maternal age is the most significant factor related to a woman's ability to conceive. While many women today are waiting to become pregnant, the ovary's ability to produce normal, healthy eggs declines with age, increasing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities and unsuccessful implantation and pregnancy.

The likelihood for successful pregnancy begins to decrease in women in their early 30s. While this decline is initially quite minimal, as the years pass the rate of decline increases and begins to rapidly accelerate around age 37 to 38, with an acute fall beyond 42 years of age.

Other factors, such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids can also play a role in infertility, though many women with these conditions conceive healthy children without trouble.

Many doctors recommend that women past age 35 have a fertility evaluation after attempting pregnancy for six months. Couples under age 35 should consider evaluation if they don't conceive after trying for a year. A woman using donor insemination should ask her doctor about an infertility evaluation after six months.

Our approach to infertility in women

UCSF is a leader in reproductive health, achieving consistently high pregnancy rates, and we offer a comprehensive array of evaluation and treatment options for women with fertility concerns. We recognize that the process of resolving infertility can be difficult, and we are committed to caring for each patient with knowledge, understanding and respect.

Treatment for female infertility depends on the underlying condition. Surgery or medication may effectively address certain disorders. For patients who don't respond to these therapies or who have fertility issues of unclear origin, we offer the latest assisted reproductive technologies. These include the full range of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, along with state-of-the-art techniques developed here at UCSF that can enhance the effectiveness of IVF.