Before we focus on infertility and its causes, it is important to first understand how the female reproductive system works during the menstrual cycle. The cycle is set in motion with the release of an egg from the ovaries, which is made possible by the action of ovarian follicles. These follicles are first stimulated by the brain’s pituitary gland, which releases a hormone, thus initiating the cycle.
During the course of the menstrual cycle, various hormones are produced to facilitate the process with Oestrogen (supports follicle growth) and Progesterone (to make the uterus ideal for pregnancy) being the most notable of the lot.
Following ovulation, the sperm cells and egg meet in the fallopian tube, with one of the sperm cells accepted by the egg. Fertilisation is said to have occurred when the sperm cell penetrates the outer layer of the egg. This fertilised egg then continues its journey to the uterus and once the egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus, pregnancy is said to have occurred. If however, the egg isn’t properly fertilised or if the embryo fails to develop, the lining of the uterus is shed as a menstrual period about 14 days after ovulation.