Fertility problems: having a baby is not a given

Fertility problems: having a baby is not always a given

Coping with fertility problems: having a baby is not always a given

Fertility problems: did you know that it occurs in 1 in 6 couples? Chances are you know someone with fertility problems. Or that you are struggling with it yourself. What are the causes, and how do you deal with them?


It all seems so obvious. You grow up, fall in love, and have children. Unfortunately, it's not that simple for everyone. Trying to get pregnant can be a challenging period. You want a baby so badly, live an extremely healthy lifestyle, constantly check your fertility app, and have been having 'obligatory' sex on your most fertile days for so long. But so far, to no avail. When you call your doctor, he tells you that you have to try for at least a year. Because only after one year is there talk of reduced fertility, the doctor will start an investigation after this year. What are the causes of reduced fertility?

Causes of fertility problems

Of course, it can be due to the fertility of both the man and the woman. In men, it is caused by the reduced quality of sperm cells. Sperm cells must meet certain conditions to fertilize an egg cell:
  • There must be enough sperm
  • The sperm cells should have a 'normal' shape and be undamaged
  • They have to be able to move well
Do the cells not meet one or more of these requirements? Then male fertility is already declining. It can be genetic or due to harmful external influences such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, medication, exposure to toxic substances, and chemicals (like paint and heavy metals). Or by certain illnesses and treatments that are bad for the sperm, such as chemotherapy or radiation. Even wearing tight underwear can affect sperm quality, as the rate decreases when the temperature of the sperm is too high. Not only the quality of the sperm plays a role. For example, clogging of the vas deferens can also occur due to an STD or disease, and it can also be due to problems with ejaculation.
In a woman, there are several causes:
  • An imbalance in your hormones can cause reduced fertility. You can think of an irregular menstrual cycle, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or just stress that disrupts your menstrual cycle.
  • Another cause is blockage of the fallopian tubes caused by chlamydia, inflammation, or abdominal surgery.
  • Problems with the endometrium are also common, and a well-known disorder is endometriosis. In this case, the endometrium is also outside your uterus, which causes reduced fertility.
  • An unhealthy lifestyle such as alcohol, drugs, and weight problems can also cause reduced fertility.
  • As a woman, you can have antibodies against sperm cells, which makes fertilization impossible.
  • Vaginismus makes it impossible for the penis to penetrate due to the cramping of the muscles surrounding the vagina.
However, it is also possible that you do not succeed in having children, but that a cause is never or yet to be found.
Woman's age
Women's emancipation has ensured that women nowadays have children at a later age. They want to have a career first. And rightly so, of course! The average age at which women have children has now risen to around 30 years. This while women between 20 and 25 years are the most fertile. Unfortunately, this means that fertility problems are becoming more and more common. Your fertility starts to decline from the age of 30. From the age of 35, it decreases rapidly, and after the age of 40, the chances for a woman to get pregnant are slim.

Still not pregnant after a year

As we saw, one speaks of reduced fertility as soon as a couple does not get pregnant after one year. Reduced fertility can be due to the woman or the man, but both partners may have reduced fertility, which further reduces the chance of pregnancy. Infertility only exists when a doctor examines a couple and proves that one or both partners cannot have children. It is then necessary to start thinking about alternatives such as adoption or surrogacy. However, it is also possible that the cause of the reduced fertility can still be solved or that no reasons can be found. It is then possible to undergo fertility treatment.

You do not have to go through it alone.


Coping with reduced fertility

Trying to get pregnant can be a challenging period. You can think of almost nothing else. Especially when it still hasn't worked out after a year, you sometimes look at it gloomily. Your surroundings do not know that you are trying to have a baby, so you are sometimes unintentionally 'hit' by remarks like 'isn't it about time'. Meanwhile, friends or other women in your surroundings get pregnant, and sometimes there is even an 'accident' mentioned. It isn't easy to be enthusiastic when your desire to have children is there all the time. And of course, you wish it for everyone—the happiness of having a child. Your relationship may also become strained. You may feel you fall short as a wife or husband if the medical problem is mainly yours. The sex is not what it used to be in this 'obligatory' form, and both of you deal with the disappointment every month differently.

Keep talking

The most important thing is to keep talking with your partner about what you feel. But perhaps also with someone on the outside. Sometimes this can provide positive insights. It may help to confide in someone, such as your mother or sister. It may also be necessary to call in professional help. Are you being treated by a doctor for your fertility problem? Chances are, the doctor offers this kind of help. Does the doctor not mention it? Just ask for it if you feel you need it. It can also help to talk to people who are going through the same thing or have experienced it. You do not have to go through it alone. How to boost your fertility?


Your ultrasound at home

The Babywatcher contains everything you need to make your own pregnancy scans at home.

This Black Friday weekend 10% off!

Babywatcher Rental