If you have been trying to conceive for a year but have been so far unsuccessful, it may be time to go and see your physician to find out if you are infertile. But what is female infertility, what causes it, how do you know you have it, and how is it treated?

Understanding What Is Female Infertility:

Female infertility means that, for whatever reason, your body is not able to get pregnant, or to sustain a pregnancy. Some women, for instance, do fall pregnant but then go on to suffer from a miscarriage. When asking about what is female infertility, you should also ask what it is not. Usually, there is a root cause behind the problem, and that can be treated. And if it can't be, then there are other options out there as well.

What Is Female Infertility? Causes, Signs and Treatments

Looking first at the potential causes of infertility, these include:

1. Fallopian tube damage, for instance, due to a previous ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, pelvic surgery, or infections.

2. Hormonal problems, including irregular cycles, short cycles, or going through the early change.

3. Cervical problems, whereby the sperm is not able to get pass the cervical canal.

4. Uterine problems, such as fibroids or polyps.

5. Unexplained infertility, where there is simply no detectable reason for you not to become pregnant or sustain a pregnancy.

The main two signs of female infertility are not falling pregnant and suffering from regular miscarriages. There are signs to look for before you try to conceive as well, which are the signs that point to any of the issues described above. Unusual vaginal discharge, changes in your menstrual cycle, and pain in your pelvic area are all signs to be aware of.

If, after one year of trying to conceive, you have not been successful, your physician will start to investigate what the root cause is. The treatment you receive will depend on what the issue is, and common treatments include:

1. Laparoscopic surgery in the case of pelvic or tubal disease, which will reconstruct your tubes, remove cysts, or treat endometriosis.

2. Hysteroscopy surgery, whereby fibroid tumors and polyps are removed from the cervix, blocked tubes are opened, and scar tissue is divided.

3. Medication, which can be used to regulate your ovulation. Common medication include clomiphene citrate, gonadotropin, and letrozole. Generally, clomiphene citrate is the first course of treatment, whereas gonadotropin is more common in cases of unexplained infertility.

4. Intrauterine insemination, whereby you will take medication to release an egg, after which a doctor implants rinsed donor semen into the uterus.

5. In vitro fertilization (IVF), whereby a donor egg (or your own) is fertilized with donor sperm, and then placed into the uterus. You will usually have to take gonadotropins to develop sufficient eggs for the procedure first.

6. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), whereby sperm is injected straight into an egg before placed into the uterus.

7. Gamete intrafallopian tube transfer (GIFT) or zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), which is a lot like IVF.

8. Egg donation, whereby women with malfunctioning eggs but a normal uterus can use donated eggs trough IVF.