Fertility Facts

Infertility is a medical condition that results in the body's inability to perform the basic function of reproduction. No one can be blamed for infertility -- neither the woman nor the man. It is no one’s fault.

The Basics
  • Infertility is defined as the inability of couples of reproductive age to establish a pregnancy within one year through unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Infertility affects approximately 8-16% of couples. It is not associated with any specific race or ethnicity.
  • If you are a woman 35 years of age or younger and have had unprotected sex for a year without getting pregnant, you should book an appointment with your doctor. If you are over 35, it is advisable to wait only six months before seeing your doctor.
  • Women with irregular cycles, suggesting a problem with ovulation, can consider evaluation and treatment as soon as this problem is identified.

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Facts Every Couple Should Know
  • For most couples suffering from infertility, the cause can be determined, and contrary to popular belief, the cause of infertility is fairly evenly split between the sexes (approximately 30% male factors and 45% female factors).
  • Some fertility problems remain unexplained even after complete medical evaluations.
  • Although many women get pregnant after their mid-thirties, a woman’s fertility begins to decline after age 35. Fertility declines as women age and then drops rapidly as she enters her mid to late 30s. The most common causes of infertility in the female are ovulatory disorders and tubal/peritoneal factors.
  • For men, fertility decreases slowly after age 35. The quality of a man’s sperm can be examined by looking at abnormalities in sperm count, motility, and/or shape.

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Today’s Treatment Options
  • Treatment of infertility depends on the cause, how long you've been infertile, the age of the partners and many personal preferences. Some causes of infertility can't be corrected. However, a couple can still achieve pregnancy with medications, surgeries, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), or other fertility treatments.
  • Many cases of infertility are treated with medical therapies such as fertility drugs or surgery without the need for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
  • Another available option for some couples, including those with male infertility, is a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Rather than just putting the eggs and sperm together in the petri dish, as is normally done in IVF, ICSI involves capturing a single sperm and injecting it directly into the egg. The use of ICSI improves male fertility in cases with low sperm count, low motility, or poor sperm function.

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