If you're struggling to conceive, you're not alone. Infertility is a fairly common issue that affects one out of every ten couples of childbearing age (15-44). It's defined as being unable to conceive after trying for more than 12 months if the woman is under 35 years old, or for six months if the woman is over 35.
What percentage of the population is infertile?
Approximately 10% of American couples of childbearing age are infertile. In the U.S. alone that means there are more than six million couples who are trying to conceive. The reasons for this are many, as we'll discuss.
The National Institutes of Health explain that for a third of couples, infertility is due to issues with the man's fertility. In another third of couples, the woman is infertile. However, for the other third of cases, the issue can't be identified to just one partner. Rather, infertility impacts both the woman and man or is due to a combination of factors. In fact, 25% of infertile couples experience more than one cause of infertility.
What are the chances of a woman being infertile?
Infertility is not solely a woman's problem. It's the cause of infertility in only a third of cases. Approximately 11% of women of reproductive age are infertile.
Age, however, does play a larger role in a woman's ability to conceive. With more couples waiting to conceive until they're in their 30s or 40s, it is a growing cause of fertility challenges. According to the Office on Women's Health, one-third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have fertility issues.
Common causes of infertility in women may include:
- Tubal obstructions
- Poor development of uterine lining
- Pelvic adhesions
- Mucus factors
- Uterine fibroids
- Egg quality, time of release, or implantation issues
Signs of infertility in women may include:
- Irregular, missed, or absent periods
- Abnormally painful periods
- More than one miscarriage
- Not being able to conceive after 12 months of actively trying
How common is it for a man to be infertile?
Fertility issues occur for about 7% of men of reproductive age in the U.S. While age is a risk factor for women, it's also one for men over the age of 40.
Common causes of infertility in men include:
- Varicoceles, in which heat has affected the count or shape of sperm
- Trauma to the testes
- Hormonal disorders
- A family history of fertility issues
Risk factors that can increase a man's chance of experiencing fertility issues include:
- Exposure to an infection or STI in the past
- Medication use
- Chemical or radiation exposure
What can I do?
If you've been trying to conceive for 12 months or more (or for six months if you're over the age of 35), talk to a fertility specialist. A specialist will run a series of tests to diagnose the cause of your fertility issues.
Treatment will depend on the cause of your infertility, but may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management
- Treatment of infections
- Ovulation induction
- Artificial insemination (AI)
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI)
- Therapeutic donor insemination (TDI)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
Heber E. Dunaway, Jr., M.D. explains some of these fertility treatment options in the following video.
To learn more about what could be leading to your fertility issues, contact our Louisiana fertility clinic today. Our talented physicians and staff have accomplished over 17,000 successful pregnancies for patients in Mandeville, Metairie, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.
Call or message us online to book your appointment!