With all the common causes out there (Breast Cancer Month, Autism Awareness Month, etc.) many may not know that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This includes those who have experienced infant loss or a miscarriage. So in honor of NIAW I wanted to write a post with some basic facts about infertility. The topic of infertility is still one that is not commonly discussed and in many cases, still incredibly taboo. I hope to educate and spread some awareness about this issue with this post and encourage you the reader to share this post with others as well. So without further delay here are 10 common facts about infertility:
1. The basic definition of infertility as described by The World Health Organization:
- Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”… (WHO-ICMART glossary1).
- “Infertility is the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year. The male partner can be evaluated for infertility or subfertility using a variety of clinical interventions, and also from a laboratory evaluation of semen.” (Semen manual, 5th Edition3).
2. Infertility is a much more common issue than many realize and is actually considered a disability:
The World Health Organization estimates that 34 million women have infertility. 34 million women! The only reason why you may not hear about it that often is because most women or couples decide to keep their struggle with infertility private. This is due to several different reasons. My husband and I decided to keep our struggle private until we knew more of what was going on, but others sometimes are completely embarrassed or frustrated as to their body not being able to conceive a child. To go even farther with these statistics, it’s estimated by the CDC that every 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Again, more people around you than you think.
3. Couples who have already had one or two children with no issues can still be at risk for infertility:
Yup, you read that correctly! Even couples who have already had one child with no issues can still be at risk for infertility. I can’t even begin to tell you how many women I’ve met through social media who had no fertility issues with their first or even second child. When it came to that next pregnancy, all of a sudden random previously unknown issues arose. Here is a clearer definition, “…following a previous pregnancy or a previous ability to do so, are then not unable to carry a pregnancy to a live birth would present with secondarily infertile. (Trends in prevalence4).” The World Health Organization
4. Infertility is always the result of an issue in the woman:
Nope. Not true at all. While many cases are the result of an issue with the female’s reproductive system, it’s not always the case. Problems with fertility can also result from the male as well. ” A CDC study analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime—this equals 3.3–4.7 million men. Of men who sought help, 18% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems (14%) and varicocele (6%).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
5. In order to beat infertility you just need to relax and reduce the stress in your life:
NO. Just no. If I had a quarter for every time an individual gave me this suggestion I would have my own villa in Italy by now. There are so many reasons as to why couples are not able conceive, reasons ranging from common issues such as PCOS, Endometriosis, low thyroid, low sperm count, and the list goes on. All issues that require some type of medical intervention to aide in conception. Now I’m not saying that miracles don’t happen and that it’s not possible to conceive without that aide. I’m a Christ follower myself and do truly believe that with God all things are possible, but sometimes God directs us to seek out that medical help for a reason. He did for us.
6. Not just couples who are over 35 years old will experience infertility:
Couple of ALL ages can experience issues resulting from infertility. You can be 18 years old and still be affected by this disease. Infertility has no age restriction.
7. IVF is not the only method that will allow you to successfully conceive:
There are several different options for couples experiencing infertility to choose from. IVF (in vitro fertilization) is not not the only method availble, there is also IUI (intrauterine insemination), ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer), GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer), and so on. All methods that are at different levels of invasiveness, for different diagnoses of infertility, and at different costs. Obviously you always want to consult your doctor when choosing the best option for your situation.
8. Not only traditional infertility medical treatments will help you conceive:
I know that this is always a touchy subject, but it’s true. If you are not comfortable with traditional medicine for any reason, there are clinics out there that focus on holistic medicine to help you conceive. There are just as many success stories out there about using holistic or alternative medicine to aide in the conception process.
9. You are not alone:
Like I stated in number two, infertility is a much more common issue than most people realize. Which means that you are lying to yourself or others are lying to you when they say no one else is going through what you are. Yes, each story or journey is unique, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a massive community of other couples going through what you are. There are so many lovely people that you can connect with through almost every social media to help and support you. If you need any suggestions, feel free to contact me personally and I will be happy to give you some recommendations.
10. If you pursue infertility treatments you will not always end up with twins or triplets:
While this occurrence does tend to be slightly common, it’s not always the case. The medications that the doctors give you generally involve releasing one or more eggs in the female, this is to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. BUT this does not mean that both eggs will be successful. Sometimes just the one egg results in a successful pregnancy.
There you have it, 10 facts about infertility! For more information and resources feel free to visit the links posted at the bottom of this post. Most importantly, don’t forget to share this post to spread the awareness!