Involuntary infertility

When a couple has been trying to have children for over a year without success it is called involuntary infertility, or infertility. Involuntary childlessness is common and can be due to several different things, but there is help to get from the care.

Regular unprotected intercourse will eventually lead to a pregnancy. With regular unprotected intercourse you usually mean at least 2-3 times a week. It is estimated that 15 percent of couples in Sweden fail to achieve pregnancy within one year. If this fails, there may be problems in the man or woman who need to be treated. Here you can read more about what it may be and what treatments for involuntary childlessness are available.

Fertility problems can affect sex life

Infertility is usually divided into primary and secondary infertility. In primary infertility, a couple has difficulty achieving pregnancy for the first time. Secondary infertility means that you have problems getting pregnant after having a baby before.

Involuntary childlessness can lead to significant mental distress in those affected. Fertility problems can wreak havoc on life goals and become a significant crisis. Investigations and treatments can also be a tough journey between hope and despair. Sex life and desire for sex can be affected because sex can be associated with achievement.

There are several different reasons why you do not succeed in having children, and there are several different ways to treat them. With the right treatment, there are good opportunities to increase the chance of having children.

Causes of involuntary childlessness

The causes of infertility are usually divided into three different categories:

  • The man’s sperm
  • The woman’s womb or eggs
  • Unexplained childlessness


Age can be a cause of impaired fertility in both man and woman. Women are usually the most fertile in their 20s. After that, fertility declines continuously as the number of ovaries in the ovaries decreases while the quality of ovarian cells deteriorates. The quality and quantity of sperm in men is slowly declining with increasing age.


In about a third of cases, involuntary infertility is due to the man’s sperm. STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can affect the quality of sperm. Radiation, cell toxins and anabolic steroids are three other factors that can affect. Two other causes could be that the testes did not get into the scrotum or the unusual condition of Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Eggs and uterus

In some cases, infertility may be due to problems with ovulation, fallopian tubes or uterus. Diseases such as endometriosis or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can make it difficult to get pregnant. Sexual diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can affect fertility. Heavy obesity or underweight can be another factor that comes into play.

Unexplained childlessness

If the investigations of infertility do not lead to any conclusions, it is usually called unexplained infertility. In these couples, all the usual tests look normal, despite the difficulties in achieving pregnancy.

Investigation of infertility

An investigation of involuntary childlessness consists of a series of tests to investigate what it is due to.

Semen analysis

When a man’s fertility is investigated, a sperm sample is usually taken. The man submits his semen in a container for care. The contents are analyzed in a lab to investigate whether the sperm may be a cause of infertility. The amount and movement of the sperm analyze to see if it can be a cause of infertility.

Egg and uterine specimens

An investigation into a woman’s fertility usually includes several ways to check if ovulation works as usual. So-called LH sticks that measure the levels of the hormone LH in a woman’s pussy can be used to evaluate ovulation. LH is a hormone that is secreted one and a half days before ovulation. Ultrasound and can be taken to determine if the ovaries are open or closed. A blood test can be taken to see if the hormones that are linked to the ovulation are working properly.

Treatment of infertility

The treatment of involuntary childlessness depends on what is found during the investigation. The conclusion can be anything from a treatment that is not needed to an egg and sperm donation may be necessary.

Stimulated ovulation

Irregular ovulation can make it difficult to get pregnant. When you stimulate ovulation, you use some type of hormone therapy. The purpose is to induce a regular ovulation that increases the chance of pregnancy during intercourse. Stimulated ovulation is usually done by taking tablets or getting injections.


Insemination is a method of helping the sperm to the uterus. Insemination is a treatment that can help if the sperm does not work. Insemination should be done simultaneously or shortly before ovulation to have the best chance of success. When an insemination is done, the sperm are inserted into the uterus through a thin plastic tube. The method is also used for sperm donation. Insemination can be combined with stimulated ovulation.

Donation of eggs or sperm

If eggs or sperm do not work, a donation may be an option. One of the parents needs to be fertile for the method to work. If eggs are donated, they need to be placed in the uterus of the person who donated the egg.

Test tube fertilization (IVF)

Test tube fertilization (IVF) is an advanced treatment that can help many people with involuntary infertility. IVF involves picking out the woman’s eggs and fertilizing them outside the body. Test tube fertilization can be a good alternative for endometriosis, poorer sperm or damage to the fallopian tube. It can also be a solution if other treatments have not worked.


Some conditions that may arise during an infertility investigation may require surgery to be corrected. Some of the conditions that may need surgery are endometriosis, fluid-filled fallopian tubes, fallopian tubes and polyps or nodules in the uterus.

When should you seek care?

If you try to get pregnant for more than a year with no results, you should seek help from the healthcare system. If you suspect that you have difficulties in having children for other reasons, you can seek care earlier. For example, it may be that the woman is over 35 years of age, has irregular menstruation or has undergone a stomach operation with complications. If any of you have had a tumor disease and treated with cell toxins, it can also be a factor affecting fertility.

You can start by seeking care at a health care center for a referral. Another alternative is to seek care directly at a gynecological clinic, women’s clinic or infertility clinic.

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