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Causes of female infertility

Wendy Kuohung, MD
Mark D Hornstein, MD
Section Editor
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Infertility is a complex disorder with significant medical, psychosocial, and economic aspects. The etiologies of female infertility will be reviewed here. Evaluation and treatment of female infertility are discussed separately. (See "Evaluation of female infertility" and "Treatments for female infertility".)

Causes of male infertility are also discussed elsewhere. (See "Causes of male infertility".)


In a World Health Organization (WHO) study of 8500 infertile couples, female factor infertility was reported in 37 percent of infertile couples in developed countries, male factor infertility in 8 percent, and both male and female factor infertility in 35 percent [1]. The remaining couples had unexplained infertility or became pregnant during the study. The most common identifiable female factors, which accounted for 81 percent of female infertility, were:

Ovulatory disorders (25 percent)

Endometriosis (15 percent)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 27, 2017.
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