It’s National Infertility Awareness Week. We hope that none of our Preggers mamas have had to tackle this challenge, but since infertility affects more than 5 million people of childbearing age, statistically speaking I’m sure that some of you have. If you are reading this, and you are one of the 5 million, then most likely you’ve overcome this hurdle. This week, we recognize your struggles to build your family with some facts that perhaps many people don’t know or understand about infertility.
- 1 in 6 couples struggles with infertility.
- The clinical definition of infertility is a couple who has been having unprotected sex for one year and hasn’t conceived. This changes to six months if you are a woman over 35 years old.
- Infertility is NOT an inconvenience; it is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body’s ability to perform the basic function of reproduction.
- In about 40 percent of infertility cases, a medical issue with the woman is the cause. In 30 percent of cases it is the man. And in 20 per cent of cases, both the man and woman are the cause. Approximately 10 percent of infertility cases can’t be explained.
- There are many different causes of infertility: lack of regular ovulation, a low sperm count, low sperm motility, premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause) and anatomical problems, such as blocked Fallopian tubes and problems with the uterine cavity. In some couples, there is no obvious cause, which is called unexplained infertility.
- A woman’s age often plays a role in infertility. According to Health Canada, a 30-year-old woman has a 90 percent chance of getting pregnant. That chance drops to 77 percent by age 35 and 55 percent if you are 40 or older.
- Twelve percent of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much.
- Men and women who smoke have decreased fertility.
- Up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking.
- Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25 percent of all female infertility problems.
- Investigation into potential causes of infertility can usually be completed over one menstrual cycle.
- Most infertility cases — 85% to 90% — are treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery.
- While vital for some patients, in vitro fertilization and similar treatments account for less than 3% of infertility services, and about (or approximately) seven hundredths of one percent (0.07%) of U.S. health care costs.
- IUI has a 10 to 20 percent pregnancy rate per procedure—a healthy woman under 35 can expect a success rate of about 19 percent per procedure. Each insemination costs $300 to $500, plus the cost of medications.
- IVF costs $6,000 and up per cycle, depending on add-ons chosen and whether eggs or embryos are frozen after the cycle.
Everyone’s journey toward motherhood is different. If your experience included more than just you and your partner – more like a room full of doctors and scientists – know that you’re not alone.