A doctor’s definition of infertility differs depending on a woman’s age. For women under 35, infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after 12 months of regular, unprotected sex. Women 35 years or older are considered infertile after trying for 6 months.
9% of the global population has trouble conceiving
Infertility does not mean you’ll never be able to conceive. Although nearly 1 in 10 people struggle with conception, up to 90% of infertile couples are able to be treated with common therapies like medication or surgery to repair reproductive organs. For others, in-vitro fertilization is a successful treatment option.
5 things you may not know about infertility
Fact #1: Infertility affects men and women equally
Despite what you may have heard, infertility is not more common in women. Men and women are impacted at similar rates, and approximately one-third of infertility cases are caused by a mixture of problems in both partners or for reasons that can’t be determined.
Fact #2: Birth control pills are not linked to infertility
Many women take birth control pills for several years to avoid unplanned pregnancy. If you’re one of them, don’t worry that you should have stopped sooner—studies haven’t shown a link between fertility problems and using the pill for an extended period of time.
Fact #3: Most lubricants should be avoided if there are fertility issues
Lubricants and saliva can have a negative impact on sperm motility. Instead choose mineral or canola oil, or use a fertility-friendly lubricant that aims to maintain the natural pH balance. Your doctor can recommend the best option for you.
Fact #4: An RE is the best choice for infertility care
A reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is an OBGYN with extra training in infertility and hormonal disorders of the male and female reproductive systems. In most cases, this specialization requires an additional three years of intensive and highly focused education.
For couples, meeting with an RE is a good first step because both partners can be treated with a more inclusive, holistic approach.
Fact #5: Male ejaculation does not mean fertility
Men can still ejaculate with low sperm count or poor-quality sperm. Diagnosis of male factor infertility requires a physical examination and semen analysis. If a problem is suspected, your RE can refer you to a urologist if one isn’t a part of their staff.