This week, we recognize National Infertility Awareness Week—a week aimed at changing the conversations around fertility. After all, anyone can experience challenges trying to have a family. To spread awareness, here are five facts about infertility:
5 Infertility Facts
- Infertility is generally defined as not being able to conceive after one year (or more) of unprotected sex. If you're older than 35, some providers may evaluate and treat women for infertility after six months of unprotected sex. In essence, the pregnancy process involves many steps, from a woman releasing an egg from her ovaries, a sperm joining with an egg, the fertilized egg moving towards the uterus, and then the embryo implanting within the uterus. Because there are multiple steps to become pregnant, a problem with any of these steps could ultimately result in infertility. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a prolonged period of time and haven’t been able to get pregnant, make an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist—a doctor that specializes in infertility.
- Around one in eight couples struggle to become pregnant. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 12% of women ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. This means that infertility affects about 7.4 million women. Out of the women with fertility issues, 25% of women with infertility issues have irregular ovulation, and 12% of women don’t have a BMI in the normal range.
- Both men and women can contribute to infertility. The CDC reports that about 35% of couples with infertility have male and female factors that contribute to their infertility. In about 8% of couples, a male factor is the only detectable cause.
- There are various ways the infertility can be treated, including medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). When it comes to infertility treatment, only 3% of couples need IVF or other advanced reproductive technology treatments. Generally, 85-90% of infertility issues can be treated with either medications or simple procedures.
- Secondary infertility is real and comprises about 30% of infertility as a whole. Secondary infertility refers to the inability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term even after you’ve had a previous successful pregnancy before and had a baby without any problem.
For more information regarding infertility and National Infertility Awareness week, visit the following resources: