Causes of infertility

Ursachen bei unerfülltem Kinderwunsch - Kinderlosigkeit und Hilfe in der KinderwunschpraxisWhen is it appropriate to talk about infertility?

The precise term of infertility refers to any problems that interfere with carrying out a full term of pregnancy. In everyday life however, it is usually associated with sterility of one or both partners. Infertility is then designated to an individual following one year of frequent sex without use of contraceptives and with no resulting pregnancy.

Infertility is not usually associated with hereditary triats, it is normally an acquired condition. For example, tubular occlusion following an infection. However, age of the individual(s) has been shown to play a major role in most cases of infertility. In women over the age of 30, and following into late thirties and early forties, chances of becoming infertile increases. In male over the age of 40, sperm count and viability decrease, contributing to the situation of infertility.

Thus, postponement of family planning has resulted in an increase in this now common problem. Today more than one quarter of couples are over the age of 30 by the time their first child is born. In 1970, more than 90% of couples were below this age. Also, the cases of infertility have been shown to be equal in their right to the male as well as the female.

Causes of infertility of male

Ursachen bei unerfülltem Kinderwunsch - Kinderlosigkeit bei dem Mann und Hilfe in der KinderwunschpraxisThe most common reason for infertility in males relates to sperm count and viability. There can be many factors that can contribute to this effect, with no one definitive cause.

These factors include:

However, some rare causes are associated with sperm movement through the male reproductive tract. In this case, sperm production is good, but cannot then be properly transferred to the female reproductive tract. Adhesions or partial undevelopment of the epididymi may also contribute to infertility.

Causes of infertility of female

Ursachen bei unerfülltem Kinderwunsch - Kinderlosigkeit bei der Frau und Hilfe in der KinderwunschpraxisInfertility in women also stems from many different origins.

Disruption of egg cell development

Disturbances in proper egg cell development is most commonly associated with improper or deficient hormonal regulation from the ovaries. Disproportionate hormonal regulation may lead to problems in normal ovulation or development of the corpus luteum.

Oviduct Associated Infertility

The oviduct is the point of contact between egg and sperm. Additionally, it functions in transport of the fertilized egg. However, it may become partially or completely blocked. The occlusion may appear after previous inflammation of the area, a previous ectopic pregnancy, previous surgery, or endometriosis.


Endometriosis is a common medical condition characterized by growth beyond or outside the uterus of tissue resembling endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus. For example, in the oviduct, ovaries, bladder, or intestines. The cause is mainly unknown but is a common obstacle in obtaining a pregnancy.

Alteration of uterus and cervix

The cervix is the smallest entry point that the sperm must travel through to make contact with the egg. Occlusions, inflammation, localized surgery and tissue scarring can hinder the facilitation of sperm transport through this region. Also, benign tumors can be a cause of infertility or miscarriage.

Polycystic Ovarial Syndrome (PCO-Syndrome)

Often the cause of infertility in females is the occurrence of cysts (fluid filled sacs) within the ovaries. This disease is usually associated with increased levels of typically male-associated hormones in the female bloodstream.

Disturbances of the immune system

Very rarely, dysfunctional immune system regulation can occur. This results in immune cells "attacking" reproductive cells, such as sperm and egg.

Behaviour changes

Change in the individual's behaviour or lifestyle can also contribute to infertility in both men and women, for example; obesity, bad diet, excessive coffee, alcohol and nicotine consumption all play a role to this effect. Also, environmental factors and too much stress can be implicated in infertility. In 5-10% of infertility cases, there is no organic cause responsible.