Medical specialists refer to an unfulfilled desire to have children in cases where couples have engaged in unprotected intercourse for a period of one year without resulting in pregnancy. Of course, pregnancy can also occur spontaneously after a period of two or more years.
An unfulfilled desire for children can have numerous causes. For this reason, both women and men are individually examined following a comprehensive consultation. In most cases, the underlying cause is not sterility but a fertility disorder of varying seriousness.
One third of fertility disorders are attributed to women, one third to men, and one third to both partners. Psychological factors are only rarely the cause of an inability to have children.
General methods of examination
- By means of a hormone test and an ultrasound examination, your doctor will ascertain whether or not ovulation is regularly occurring (hormonal and/or functional disorders of the ovaries).
- The extent of possible damages or alterations to the Fallopian tube is examined via screening tests (hysterosalpingo contrast sonography, contrast ultrasound method).
- A spermiogram is conducted in the laboratory in order to determine the composition and motility of the sperm cells and the sperm count in the ejaculated male semen.
In the case where fertility disorders have more serious causes, the female reproductive organs can be examined by means of an abdominal endoscopy (laparoscopy) and a uterine endoscopy (hysteroscopy). These procedures are referred to as “microinvasive” surgery.
Methods of treatment
- Hormonal stimulation
The hormone treatment for the woman involves her taking medication (by means of tablets or injections) to develop egg cells and initiate ovulation.
- Artificial insemination
The semen is processed in the doctor’s surgery in order to filter out the motile and normally formed sperm. These are introduced directly into the womb at the time of ovulation using a thin catheter.
- In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
With this form of treatment, fertilisation takes place outside of the womb: egg and sperm cell are brought together in a test tube and returned to the womb using a thin catheter after fertilisation (embryo transfer).
- Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is a further development of in vitro fertilisation. In cases where the man has severely impaired fertility, a single sperm is inserted directly into the egg cell.
- Freezing of fertilised egg cells (cryoconservation)
The remaining egg cells can be frozen and stored for up to 5 years.
- Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)/Testicular sperm extraction (TESE)
MESA involves retrieving sperm from the epididymis. In the case of TESE, a tissue sample is taken from the testicles. Either method can be combined with ICSI.
Hirslanden clinics offer you the best possible attention and support in terms of both nursing and medical care. We are committed to providing safe, discrete surroundings in our doctor’s surgeries and clinics.