Dear Scholastic Surrogate: Infertility 101 - What are the stats around infertility?

Dear Scholastic Surrogate: My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for almost a year. The doctor has diagnosed us with unexplained infertility. We are feeling pretty alone. How common is infertility? - TTC

Hi, TTC -

Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy without medical assistance. And while there is so much unknown about the condition, we do know that in some instances age, physical health and lifestyle choices can contribute to a person’s fertility. 

Getting pregnant, if at all possible, is a lot harder than most people think. While about 60% of couples will conceive without medical assistance within six months of trying, one in eight couples struggle with infertility issues. The fact is, infertility is a highly overlooked issue unless you or someone close to you is personally going through it.

Did you know that 7.4 million women between the ages of 15-44 will have difficulty of getting or staying pregnant according to the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s 12% of all women! Infertility not only affects women but men as well. The CDC estimates that 7.5% of men have gone to see a fertility doctor at some point in their lifetime.

The most common cause for female anovulatory infertility, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which affects nearly 6.1 million women. Women with PCOS are more likely to lose pregnancies when they do manage to conceive. PCOS can also increase the risk of endometrial cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart attack.

Modern technology is wonderful and can come to the rescue but at a huge price. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that the average cost for one cycle of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in the United States is $12,400, and this may or may not include the cost of medications and additional procedure like genetic screening or intracytoplasmic sperm injections, which can add thousands more dollars to the total bill. And even after all that, only about 30% of those IVF cycles will produce a live birth.

Infertility is a heartbreaking thing to have to go through. It’s not talked about enough, and maybe that’s because it’s a touchy and sometimes embarrassing subject, but chances are if it isn’t happening to you, someone close to you is probably going through it. 

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