Statistics on Infertile Couples

Woman stressed about fertility issues

If you're worried about your ability to conceive a baby, you may find yourself searching for statistics on infertile couples.

The Statistics on Infertile Couples

Getting pregnant immediately is not as common of an occurrence as popular culture leads us to believe. The average time to conceive can vary greatly. In fact, doctors do not consider a couple to be infertile until they have been trying to have a baby for at least six months if they are over 35. For couples under 35, they must be trying for at least one year before being able to seek a diagnosis of infertility.

According to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth by the CDC, infertility affects about 12 percent of the reproductive-age population. In the United States, this includes 7.3 million women and their partners.

Infertility can have many different causes, including the age of the couple, whether or not one person is overweight or underweight, and if the partners are suffering from untreated STDs. In women, however, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of trouble conceiving a baby. PCOS is characterized by immature follicles in the ovaries that bunch together to form large cysts or lumps instead of breaking open to release eggs for fertilization. When a woman has PCOS, she has irregular or missing menstrual periods. This condition affects up to 10 percent of women in the United States.

Although women often assume that trouble conceiving is a personal failing, it's important to realize that infertility is not exclusively a female problem. In approximately 30 percent of cases, male fertility problems are the sole cause of the difficulty. In another 20 percent of cases, statistics on infertile couples reveal both the man and the woman have medical concerns that are limiting their ability to conceive. It is impossible to know what is causing a couple's fertility struggles until proper diagnostic tests have been performed.

While infertility is a medical condition, it does have a psychological component that must be considered as well. Many couples report intense feelings of sadness, anger, grief, and/or depression when they experience difficulty getting pregnant. Since women with a history of depression are almost twice as likely to report infertility as women who don't struggle with depression, this is an issue that should be taken seriously. Counseling is recommended for anyone who feels that fertility issues are contributing to symptoms of depression.

How Do I Know If I Am Infertile?

When trying to conceive a baby, it can be very frustrating to discover that the process is taking longer than you had hoped.

If you suspect you may be infertile, the best course of action is to meet with your healthcare provider. After taking a complete medical history, he/she can order the necessary tests to identify any fertility issues that may affect your ability to conceive. Of course, you'll also need to have your partner come in for testing as well. Keep in mind that trouble conceiving can be the result of female infertility, male infertility, or a combination of issues.

Help Is Available

Receiving a diagnosis of infertility can be devastating, but it's not necessarily the end of your dream of starting a family. Statistics indicate 2/3 of couples seeking treatment for fertility issues go on to have healthy babies. Additionally, new medical breakthroughs in the treatment of infertility are occurring on an almost daily basis.

If you're considering fertility treatments to help reach your goal of having a baby, remember to investigate your insurance coverage carefully before beginning any treatment plan. Currently, only 14 states have laws that require insurers to cover some form of infertility diagnosis and treatment.

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

Additional Information

For more statistics on infertile couples, as well as information on fertility treatments that are available, LoveToKnow Pregnancy suggests visiting the following helpful Web sites:

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Statistics on Infertile Couples