20% of all couples over age 30 remain involuntarily childless

Reasons for unwanted childlessness

For most couples the desire for children is fulfilled naturally. However, about 15-20% of all couples remain involuntarily childless.

In 45% of cases the underlying cause can be assigned to female problems, in 45% to male problems. Couples are often faced with a combination of male and female reproductive problems. For an ever decreasing percentage of couples (due to continuous improvement in diagnostics) the reasons are not clear (this is referred to as idiopathic sterility).

Graphik - Ursachenverteilung

Involuntary childlessness can have various causes, such as hormonal imbalance, pathological alterations in human organs and serious illness. Moreover, it is often due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

1. Disorders in development of ovum and sperm
2. Problems with the fusion of egg and sperm
3. Problems arising after fertilization
4. Same sex partnerships
5. Single women


1. Disorders in development of ova and sperm

The reason for infertility may be that no oocyte (oogenesis) or not a sufficient number of sperms (spermatogenesis) reach maturity. If no oocyte matures, this is mostly due to a malfunction of the endocrine system with its endocrine glands (hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries etc.). The underlying endocrine disorder has to be determined by doing hormone analysis and eventually being treated appropriately.

The presence of spermatozoa is assessed by a microscopic examination of the semen sample.

Many millions of motile spermatozoa are necessary for the successful fertilization of an oocyte. However, only a few of them will actually reach the fallopian tube. Within the fallopian tube the oocyte has to be surrounded by several hundreds of sperms for fertilization. Too few mobile sperms will result in a failure of fertilization. It is rare that sperm abnormalities are only caused by hormonal deficiency, but more frequently by a defect in the testicles themselves, which are more difficult to treat (compared to problems with the egg ripening process in women).

The diagnosis of male infertility requires special tests. Treatment with drugs or hormones may be tried in order to improve number and quality of mobile spermatozoa. Currently, there are hardly any treatment options for neither testicular degeneration nor genetic disorders that may affect the testes. 


2. Problems with the fusion of egg and sperm

Even if there is a mature oocyte (oogenesis) and sufficient mobile spermatozoa, there is still a multitude of factors that may inhibit the fusion of ovum and sperm (fertilization). Tubal blockage preventing gamete fusion accounts for the majority of cases.

These include adhesions in the fallopian tubes as a result of infections, adhesions between the tubes and ovaries, absence of the tubes as a result of previous surgery as well as tubal obstruction after sterilization.

In some very rare cases immunological processes in the cervix (neck of the uterus) can impair the motility of sperm cells.


3. Problems arising after fertilization

The early embryo might die before implantation (or nidation) due to either inherited or acquired developmental deficiencies. Furthermore, implantation may fail, because the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is not properly prepared. In some cases the mother's immune system may identify the embryo as exogenous protein and reject it.

Unexplained infertility is also referred to as idiopathic sterility. In these cases, it is important to be aware of psychosomatic components, for emotional issues can have a major impact on the human body. Therefore, psychological issues should be evaluated in order to take the necessary steps to improve the chances of conceiving.


4. Same sex partnerships

Being part of a network enables us to provide women who are in a partnership with other women with professional medical and legal consulting on the following topics:


5. Single women

Enabled by this network, we also offer single women all currently available treatment options (Insemination, IVF, ICSI, IMSI).


IVF Centers Prof. Zech
IVF Zech International - Partners
Tel.: +43 5574 44836
Tel.: +43 662 9010 5000
Tel.: +41 71 950 1580
Tel.: +423 237 6655
Czech Republic
Tel.: +42 0377 279 350
Tel.: +39 0473 270470
(providing scientific and technical expertise)
Nuova Ricerca
Rimini, Italien
The Bridge Clinics
Lagos State, Nigeria
Meden Healthcare
Casablanca, Morocco