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How does fertilisation work?

There is a tough plug of mucus in front of the cervix, at the access to the uterus, which is difficult for the sperm cells to penetrate. This disappears around the time of ovulation and makes it easier for the sperm to get to the egg. The egg, which has come loose from the follicle in the ovary, enters the fallopian tube with a small amount of fluid. Wave-like movements of the fallopian tube walls carry the egg to the uterus.

Fertilisation only occurs when spermatozoa are introduced in this tract, which can penetrate the egg cell and fuse with the cell nucleus. The spermatozoa do not have too much time for this because the egg can only be fertilised for about 12 hours. The sperm cells can survive in the woman's body for up to five or even eight days.

About five to ten percent of the eggs cannot be fertilised because their outer shell is impenetrable to the spermatozoa. A germination plant is something highly sensitive. Due to various disturbances, 40 to 50 percent of all pregnancies do not develop any further and sometimes get terminated undetected with the next period.

Fertility perception

In the age of the pill and the coil, there are ever larger phases in women's lives in which they do not experience or pay little attention to the normal body signs of fertility. If couples want to use natural methods of contraception or plan a pregnancy, it might take some time before they can determine the infertile and fertile days during the cycle themselves with the help of the temperature method, the mucus structure method or the self-examination of the cervix. 

Although a miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth is not uncommon even today, many parties implicated do not get the opportunity to exchange their experiences. Abortion due to medical or other reasons is particularly taboo. More often than not, the people in the societal circles, friends, acquaintances and companions are overwhelmed with the grief that the man and woman in the said situation experience when they have to cope with a loss - no matter in which week of pregnancy. Counselling can prove to be immediately effective in the intense situation, but sometimes it may take months or years.

Benefit from our assistance

  • If you need help in mourning the loss and processing your experience
  • If you need to find new ways in your companionship to talk about what you have experienced and support each other
  • If you have medical questions like how? and why?
  • If you need help deciding which prenatal check-ups you might want to go through before a subsequent pregnancy

Self-help groups prove useful in setting people in contact with other women and men, who have undergone similar situation

Contacting self-help groups

Die Muschel

Initiative Regenbogen e.V. (Rainbow initiative)

As with heterosexual couples, there are same-sex couples who also wish to have a child. Children in homosexual families is a realistic dimension of life. Many couples have children from a heterosexual relationship in the past. The desire to have children in a same-sex relationship has a lot to do with legal issues: Can same-sex couples adopt children and can lesbian women get artificial insemination done?

Most lesbian women fulfil their desire to have children by inseminating with donor sperm. Some of them look for private sperm donors. They either carry out the fertilisation by themselves at home or get the help of a doctor to do the same. Others opt for sperm banks to obtain semen. The guidelines for carrying out assisted reproduction do not explicitly prohibit fertilisation with donor sperm in lesbian women, but there are very few doctors in Germany who carry out this treatment. For this reason, many women travel to the Netherlands or Denmark.

In principle, single persons may also adopt children and in some cases, even women who have come forth openly and confidently as a lesbian couple in the application have received an adoption permit from the responsible authority. Nevertheless, the chance of a mediation remains scarce, since the number of applicants for each child standing for adoption is huge and both the adoption mediation offices and the biological parents, who are subject to approval, prefer to mediate in traditionally avowed families.

The Adoption by same-sex couples is allowed in some European countries and liberal drafting of legislature is discussed in many countries.

Homosexual couples have the option of overseas adoption, if their eligibility is recognised by the adoption agency at their place of residence. 

Read more

Lesbian and gay association in Germany - Family page

Initiative of lesbian and gay parents

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