What happens when women stop having babies

Inadvertently Childless: Possible Reasons for Infertility

  • Benign gynecological diseases: endometriosis and fibroids
    Endometriosis is basically a benign gynecological disease. A kind of uterine lining also grows outside the uterus, for example in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, and can thus impair fertility.
    The situation is similar with fibroids. The benign growths in the uterus are only a cause of infertility if they are so unfavorable that the implantation of an embryo is prevented.
  • Congenital malformations and disorders
    Anatomical malformations or changes in the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the uterus are a possible cause of unwanted childlessness. Another special case: defense reactions against the partner's sperm, which prevents fertilization.

Possible disturbances in men

A man's fertility disorder is usually due to the fact that the sperm cells are not available in sufficient numbers or quality. A semen analysis can provide information about this. "But not only the number, but also the mobility is important," says gynecologist Hinney. If enough mature and motile sperm are not produced, this can have different causes:

  • Varicose veins in the testicle
  • Undescended testicles
  • previous or acute infections of the testes or epididymis
  • Damage to the genetic make-up
  • unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. smoking)

The sperm ducts - like the fallopian tubes in women - can also be difficult to pass through or closed, so that there are too few or no intact sperm in the ejaculate. There are also a number of other, partly unclear influences that can impair fertility.

Other causes of involuntary childlessness

Biological causes do not always have to be behind it. Psychological and sociological factors can also negatively affect fertility. For example, stress, alcohol, cigarettes, overweight or underweight. If a pregnancy does not happen in the long run, however, there are seldom purely emotional causes behind it. "The psyche alone is usually not the cause of infertility," says Hinney.

What happens after the findings?

Depending on the diagnosis, the couple has several therapy options available. A first approach is cycle monitoring by measuring the morning temperature (basal temperature). In the medical practice, ultrasound and blood tests can also be carried out to determine the optimal fertilization period. Hormone therapy, for example, can also improve fertility or an operation can make stuck fallopian tubes permeable again. If there is no treatable cause or if the therapy is unsuccessful, the couple can choose from other methods such as artificial insemination.