A woman who cannot get children in the African set up is usually perceived as one who is cursed or even worse assumed to have procured several abortions. Needless to say, sometimes it’s not always the woman’s ‘problem’. Men too could be the reason behind a childless marriage. But patriarchy rules and so the woman remains to be the carrier of all the shame that comes with childlessness.

A 2012 Kenyatta National Hospital case study found that 41.8% infertility cases were due to the female factor, 16.5% was due to the malefactor while 35.4% was a combination of both male and female factors. Clearly, either party could be the cause or both of you could be the cause hence the reason why childlessness should be handled as a couple’s thing.

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Infertility in women according to the World Health Organization is the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.

So why are women more affected than men? In this article, we look at some of the main medical causes of infertility in women.


Endometriosis illustration(HealthDirect)
Endometriosis illustration(HealthDirect)

This is when the endometrium tissue grows in other places outside the uterus. Some signs of endometriosis include heavy bleeding, abnormal period pain, and pain during sex. The surgical removal of the extra tissue causes scarring which in returns blocks the fallopian tubes hence preventing the fertilization process.

Ovulation disorders

For you to become pregnant, ovulation is required. Some women do not ovulate at all meaning they cannot conceive. Other women ovulate, though infrequently, making it harder to conceive. Ovulation problems are usually due to hormonal issues in the body. For instance, hormonal imbalance causes the polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that interferes with a woman’s ovulation. Premature ovarian failure which happens when the ovaries stop functioning well before age 40 also contribute to ovulation problems and hinder conception. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism also affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.

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Tubal blockage

Blocked Fallopian tubes cause infertility
Blocked Fallopian tubes cause infertility

One study found that tubal damage is the second most common cause of infertility in women. When the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, the sperm is not able to reach the egg. Also, the fertilized egg may be blocked from moving to the uterus if the tubes are blocked. The tubes may be blocked by pelvic inflammatory disease caused by infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Pelvic tuberculosis and previous surgery of the abdomen or the pelvic may also result in blocked fallopian tubes.

Abnormal cervical mucus

The vagina is acidic in nature and the cervix produces mucus to enable the sperm to survive in the hostile acidic environment. When a woman’s cervix produces abnormal mucus, the sperm is not able to survive and it, therefore, cannot swim toward the egg.


Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids

These are noncancerous tissues that may grow in the uterus. They cause heavy bleeding and abdominal pains. Depending on the number of fibroids, their location and their size, they can also prevent the implantation of the embryo. If they are large, fibroids may also affect pregnancy and increase one’s risk of having a miscarriage.