The causes of infertility

Publié le : 4 June 2013

 According to the Italian doctor Benedetta Foà, a clinical psychologist who specialises in the post-abortion pathologies and is also a training psychotherapist, "there are many ways of tackling the question [of infertility]", which "many women experience […] as a bereavement.

Interviewed on the distinction between sterility and infertility, Benedetta Foà explains that sterility is the fact "of not being able to conceive" while infertility is "the impossibility of achieving a pregnancy." The WHO [World Health Organization], also distinguishes between primary sterility ("the absence of pregnancy after at least 24 months of regular sexual relations"), secondary sterility ("the impossibility of conceiving another child after a previous pregnancy after at least 12 months of regular sexual relations"), and infertility ("the situation of a woman who manages to have a pregnancy but is unable to bring the pregnancy to term"). 
She points out that infertility, which affects 15 to 20% of couples, has many causes which may be both biological or related to their lifestyle, the use of drugs or alcohol, advanced age, the fact of having had a previous abortion, or psychological causes. It can happen that "the uterus may have been damaged during her abortion and so the woman is unable to bring to term the subsequent pregnancies that she wants. But it may also be secondary infertility that has a psychological origin, which means that the woman does not become pregnant or is unable to bring her pregnancy to term, even if there is no problem at the organic level." In this last case, this specialist insists that consulting a psychologist "may be fundamental." This is often neglected in favour of in-vitro fertilization: "the inability to make this dream come true may be the source of frustration" and "partly explains the present boom in in-vitro fertilization."

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