Low fertility is a problem

Infertility: causes

The reasons for infertility are very diverse. Fertility is not a constant variable, but is subject to greater or lesser fluctuations in every person. Even in young couples, excessive stress or severe psychological distress can trigger periods of infertility. If the situation relaxes again, fertility can also "recover". Even if a couple may be sad about the fact that pregnancy will not occur, this reaction of the body makes sense in many cases. Great stress, psychological or physical stress prevents that the woman can concentrate on a pregnancy and the necessary calm and serenity sets in. That is why the body automatically prevents a pregnancy from occurring in such phases.

Both male and female fertility affect Alcohol, nicotine, drugs or environmental toxins negative. The production of semen may be reduced in heavy smokers or ovulation may not occur in women who smoke. This also applies to excessive alcohol consumption. Also are Overweight or underweight frequent causes of temporary sterility, especially in young women. Some diets can lead to menstrual disorders or cause the body to "switch to the back burner", which does not allow pregnancy Competitive sport or heavy physical work can cause fertility disorder.

On the other hand, if there is sterility organic cause it can usually only be treated with medical help. Physical causes can either be congenital or acquired in the course of life through illness, surgery, or other factors. Often not one factor alone is responsible for involuntary childlessness - the psyche also often plays a major role in organically causing infertility.

In the case of so-called idiopathic sterility, minimal changes in both partners, which in themselves do not explain the unfulfilled desire to have children, in their combination can lead to the absence of pregnancy. It is therefore important to always include both partners when investigating the causes.

Causes in women

There are several reasons that promote or cause infertility in women.

Today's lifestyle

At the time of birth, a woman has around 500,000 egg cells, the number of which decreases continuously over the course of her life. Today women and couples tend to postpone their desire to have children in their life planning.
As a result, the biological conditions are no longer ideal for wanting to have children - even the feeling of still being fit and youthful changes little in terms of the age of the egg cells. The older the egg cells are, the more often disturbances in egg cell maturation or luteal weakness occur. An over- or under-production of certain messenger substances brings the female cycle out of balance.

In addition to age-related disorders, one's own lifestyle and environmental factors can be responsible for a hormone imbalance. Obesity is a common cause of fertility problems. Since some of the male hormones (androgens) - which are also found in women - are produced in adipose tissue, being overweight leads to an increased proportion of androgens (hyperandrogenemia), which disrupts egg cell maturation. In a more pronounced form, the clinical picture of the polycystic ovaries (PCO syndrome) can develop, in which a large number of immature follicles wither away prematurely.

Disorders of the hormonal balance

Impairments to the female hormonal balance can result in not enough egg cells maturing, ovulation failing, the uterine lining not being adequately prepared for the implantation of an embryo, or the cervical mucus changing its consistency so that it prevents sperm from ascending into the uterus.

In addition, a impaired thyroid function (Hyper- or hypothyroidism) or a disturbed insulin metabolism (e.g. in diabetes) impair egg cell maturation. An increased level of the hormone prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) can also be responsible for sterility.

Organic causes

A distinction is made between the hormonal causes of sterility and the organic causes such as a fallopian tube obstruction or adhesions of the uterus. Age-related diseases such as endometriosis (deposits of uterine lining on other organs), benign tumors in the uterus (myomas), adhesions, blocked or immobile fallopian tubes or the tendency to recurring cysts are increasingly occurring, especially in women over 30 years of age. These organic causes can be responsible for sterility.


If the fallopian tubes are stuck, closed or overgrown as a result of inflammation, infection, surgery or endometriosis, the transport of the egg through the fallopian tube can be severely impaired or even impossible. Adhesions or a complete closure of the fallopian tubes are usually caused by inflammation of the fallopian tubes or infectious sexually transmitted diseases (especially chlamydial infection).

Congenital malformations

Congenital malformations of the reproductive organs (e.g. the fallopian tubes) can also be considered for involuntary childlessness, but are rather rare. In a few cases, women have immunological defense reactions against their partner's sperm or, in rare cases, against their own egg cells, so that fertilization cannot take place.

Causes in men

As with women, there are also specific causes in men that can be involved in the development of infertility:

Decreased sperm quality

The most common cause of sterility in men is the restricted formation of normal, well-motivated sperm cells. Normally, one milliliter of semen contains at least 20 million sperm. If less than a third of the sperm cells in the man's ejaculate have a normal appearance (morphology) and more than half show restricted mobility, this indicates an inability to conceive.

Decreased sperm production

Impaired sperm production can be hereditary or acquired in the course of life. The undescended testicles that occur immediately after birth are particularly often responsible for the restricted formation of healthy sperm. Since a temperature of around 32 ° Celsius is required for normal function of the testes, overheating in undescended testes leads to reduced sperm production (oligozoospermia), to limited sperm mobility (asthenozoospermia) or to morphological changes (teratozoospermia). Similar consequences can arise from a varicose vein on the testicle (varicocele). It is believed that this increases the temperature of the testicle and negatively affects sperm production.

Hormonal causes

In addition, the sperm quality can be impaired by chromosomal abnormalities such as Klinefelter's syndrome (men who have another X sex chromosome in addition to the XY sex chromosome) because not enough male hormones are released. In men, too, hormonal causes for reduced semen quality come into consideration.

Testicular malfunction

Acquired testicular dysfunction can also occur after developing mumps at a young age (after puberty) or other testicular infections. Medicines, excessive consumption of nicotine or alcohol, permanent overheating or hypothermia of the testicles, circulatory disorders or environmental toxins such as heavy metals or pesticides can negatively affect sperm production.

Blockage of the seminal ducts

Another common cause of sterility is blockage of the seminal ducts. Sufficient sperm cells are then formed, but they cannot enter the ejaculate through the vas deferens or epididymal ducts. There is a so-called azoospermia. Possible reasons for the damage to the vas deferens are injuries (e.g. due to an inguinal hernia), infectious sexually transmitted diseases (often chlamydial infection), inflammation, Cystic fibrosis or congenital malformations.


Injury or inflammation can also cause the testicles to break apart from the bloodstream and the formation of antibodies against your own sperm, which make them inoperable.

Author (s): äin-red