April is Infertility Awareness Month. So, let’s talk about it. For many, receiving an infertility diagnosis shatters their dream of having a house full of children. After months of trying, depression is often experienced by both partners and can have a strong impact on self-esteem. So, what is infertility, and what causes it?
What Is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as not getting pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex. Because fertility in women is known to decline steadily with age, some providers evaluate and treat women aged 35 years or older after six months of unprotected sex.
A Private Matter
Infertility is a very private matter for individuals and couples. It can feel like a failure to those diagnosed, even though it’s quite a common problem. An estimated 6% of married women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States cannot get pregnant after one year of trying. And one in eight couples struggle with infertility in the U.S. Overall; there is a lack of conversation about it, available resources, and knowledge about the causes of infertility.
The following percentages can break down the causes of infertility:
- 30% attributed to male factors
- 30% attributed to female factors
- 20% are unexplained
- 10% a combination of problems in both partners.
Some health problems can increase the risk of infertility. If you have irregular periods or no menstrual periods, very painful periods, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or more than one miscarriage, you may be at higher risk.
When Should You Consult Your Doctor?
It’s time to consult your doctor if you have been trying to get pregnant for at least a year and you are younger than 35 years of age. Women aged 35 years and older should see a health care provider after six months of trying unsuccessfully. However, it’s always a good idea for a woman and her partner to talk to a health care provider before trying to get pregnant. Your doctor can help you get your body ready for a healthy baby, give tips on conceiving, and can also answer questions on fertility.
You can find resources and support for those experiencing infertility at the National Infertility Association.
Help Change the Conversation for Infertility Awareness Month
Infertility Awareness Month aims to raise awareness around infertility and help change the conversation. Together we can help how we view infertility.
Do you have questions about infertility or looking for a women’s health care provider? Contact us at 479.582.9268 or visit our website.