Five things you didn't know about infertility

One in eight couples in the United States will struggle with infertility.  While more and more treatments are becoming available, many misconceptions still exist about infertility. (Path2Parenthood) 

Did you know the following five facts about infertility?

#5: Infertility is just as likely to be caused by problems with the man as with the woman. In fact, about one-third of infertility cases are caused by complications with the woman and one-third are caused by complications with the man.

The remaining third are caused by factors that are unknown or are caused by a combination of issues between the man and the woman.

#4: Alcohol use and smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of infertility. While the causes of infertility can be medical, lifestyle choices certainly can contribute to a couples’ ability to achieve pregnancy.

Aside from heavy alcohol use and cigarette smoking, other things that can increase the risk of infertility include age, drug use, certain medicines, poor diet and stress.

#3: Doctors recommend couples try to achieve pregnancy naturally at least one year before pursuing fertility alternatives. However, women over the age of 35 should talk to their doctor about infertility after six months of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving.

The FDA recommends that all women talk to their doctor before trying to achieve a pregnancy.

#2: Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments (i.e. IVF, embryo adoption) are successful 39 percent of the time, on average, for women under the age of 35. However, as a woman ages, her chances at success using ART greatly decrease.

For a woman between 35 and 37, the chances of success through ART are 30 percent. For women ages 37-40, the success rate goes down to 21 percent. And for women ages 41-42, the chances of ART working is only 11 percent.

#1: Transfers of adopted/donated embryos have a higher success rate than transfers of a couple’s own embryos. According to a 2007 study by Fertility and Sterility, donated embryos resulted in a successful pregnancy 35% of the time, while transfers using a couple’s own embryos (from IVF) resulted in pregnancy 32% of the time.

While it is not entirely clear why this is so, it does show that a couple pursuing an Embryo Donation/Adoption has, at least, the same chance at success as a couple pursuing IVF using their own embryos.

Most of these facts were taken from the Department of Health and Human Services website, www.womenshealth.gov. For more information on Embryo Adoption, visit www.embryoadoption.org.

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