Infertility is fairly common. After one year of having unprotected sex, about 15 percent of couples are unable to get pregnant. About a third of the time, infertility can be traced to the woman. In another third of cases, it is because of the man. The rest of the time, it is because of both partners or no cause can be found, termed unexplained infertility.
According to The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), infertility is the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. This means that a couple is not able to become pregnant after a year of trying. However, for women aged 35 and older, the inability to conceive after 6 months is generally considered infertility. ASRM concur that about one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors and about one-third to factors that affect women. For the remaining one-third of infertile couples, infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or in about 20 percent of cases, is termed unexplained.
Infertility Facts 101
Fact 1. Infertility affects males and females. According to the statistics, in 40-50 percent of infertility cases, a male factor is the cause. It is necessary and important to complete a semen analysis as part of the initial work up in addition to the female diagnostic work up.
Fact 2. You are not alone. It may seem everyone around you is getting pregnant without any problem. However, one in eight couples of reproductive age will be diagnosed infertile.
Fact 3. A female is born with all her eggs inside her ovaries. Thus, during a female’s fetal life, there are six to seven million eggs. At birth, there are approximately one million, and by the puberty stage, only about 400,000 eggs remain. However, only approximately 10% (400) will be ovulated during a woman’s reproductive lifetime.
Fact 4. The egg has a short life span after ovulation. After ovulation, the egg is usually available for 12-24, referred to as the fertile window. It will not be possible for the woman to get pregnant again until the next cycle.
Fact 5. 80-90 percent of couples in reproductive couple age will get pregnant within 12 months of unprotected intercourse. Knowing when to seek help gives you the most options. For women younger than 35, infertility is defined at 12 months of unprotected intercourse. For women older than 35, infertility is defined at 6 months of unprotected intercourse.
Fact 6. Infertility does not mean in vitro fertilization (IVF). Seeking a fertility specialist do not always mean the only option to achieve a pregnancy is through IVF. There are many cases that will begin with the basic treatment and pregnancy is achieved. However, there are cases whereby an IVF is the best option to achieve to achieve pregnancy. IVF may not be necessary in certain cases.
Fact 7. Insurance may not cover fertility treatment. It is important to verify with your health insurance carrier the benefits included in the plan. There are instances whereby the insurance plan will cover the diagnostic testing, however, the plan will not cover the treatment. There are other cases whereby the diagnostic testing and certain treatment options will be covered. Also, cases of no fertility coverage at all. There are financial options available for those patients without fertility coverage.