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Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital

Infertility in Women

Learn about infertility in women, failure to conceive, causes, diagnosis, treatment, procedures, technology and LVHN support for women and couples.

Infertility, defined as failing to conceive a child after at least a year of well-timed intercourse, affects an estimated 15 percent of couples.

Infertility care is sensitive to your needs. We will help you understand your options and get answers to your questions. We’re here to support you as you try to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent. 

Diagnosis and next steps

The first step is to find out what is causing the delay in pregnancy. In women, diagnosis of the issue may include:

  • Hormone testing
  • Hysterosalpingography (an X-ray study) to check if your fallopian tubes are open
  • Physical examination, including a Pap test and testing for infection 
  • Ovulation evaluation
  • Ultrasound to examine the follicles and uterine tissues and to screen for abnormal conditions, such as ovarian cysts or fibroids (benign tumors in the uterus)

Some couples may need assisted reproductive technology (ART), in which the sperm and egg are united in the laboratory, and the fertilized egg is returned to the woman’s uterus where it can implant and develop. Although ART procedures often could be expensive, many are being used with success, including:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure where a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are combined in a special lab to create an embryo.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure in which sperm is injected directly into the egg.
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) procedure removes eggs from the uterus, mixes them with sperm, and returns eggs to the uterus.
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is a procedure where a fertilized embryo is transferred into the fallopian tube.
  • Donor eggs
  • Embryo cryopreservation
  • Intrauterine insemination
  • Medication
  • Surgery

Your evaluation may be provided by a gynecologist, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), a urogynecologist or a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist (RE&I). Infertility procedures are performed by RE&I specialists.

Infertility is not just a woman’s concern. In about 50 percent of infertile couples, a problem with the male is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility. About one-third of infertile couples have more than one cause or reason related to their inability to conceive.

Having trouble getting pregnant?

Ten to 15 percent of women need extra help conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. Our fertility partner may be able to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Pennsylvania