Recent research has revealed that genetic variants can increase the risk of developing endometriosis.
The common gynaecological disease is characterised by the growth of cells on organs in the pelvis, including the bowel and the ovaries.
Some women become infertile as a result of these cell growths, which resemble the lining of the womb.
While the reason for the growths is unknown, researchers from the International Endogene Consortium have found two new genetic variants among women with endometriosis, which appear to increase the risk of developing the disease.
Dr Krina Zondervan, the principal investigator on the paper, commented: "Endometriosis can be a painful and distressing condition that affects a significant number of women in their reproductive years.
"We've known for some time that endometriosis is heritable, but until now we have been unable to find any robust genetic variants that influence a woman's risk of developing the disease."