April 24 - 30 Is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did You Know That One In Eight Women Is Diagnosed With Infertility?

April 24 - 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know that one in eight women is diagnosed with infertility?

April 24 - 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know that one in eight women is diagnosed with infertility? This means that if you haven't experienced infertility yourself, you likely know someone who has (even if you don't know that they have). National Infertility Awareness Week dates back to 1989. The purpose is to raise awareness about infertility and to "encourage the public to Take Charge of their reproductive health." Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services declared National Infertility Awareness Week a federally recognized health observance. What is infertility? According to WebMD's page on understanding infertility, "Infertility is defined as the inability for a couple to become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse. The male partner, the female partner, or both may have a fertility problem. A person who is infertile has a reduced ability to have a child. It usually doesn't mean a person is sterile -- that is, physically unable ever to have a child." WebMD notes that up to 15% of couples experience infertility, but only 1-2% are sterile. Furthermore, half of couples who experience infertility and seek medical help have a biological child in the end. Common causes of infertilityInfertility can be caused by many things. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but rather some of the more frequent reasons men and women experience infertility (from WebMD). Common causes of infertility in women:

  • Anovulation: Lack of ovulation (most common cause in women), usually from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Fallopian tubes that cannot carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This usually results from the buildup of scar tissue from either a past infection or endometriosis
  • Occasionally, an egg cannot implant in the uterus for a variety of reasons, such as endometriois, fibroids, tumors irregular uterine shape or cervical problems
  • Age: Fertility declines as women age
  • Weight: Either overweight or underweight

Common causes of infertility in men:

  • Blocked sperm ducts
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Malformation of sperm
  • Temporary drop in sperm production: Results from an injury to the testicles

Things to keep in mind about infertility Infertility isn't a "woman's problem." Thirty percent of infertility cases are attributable to an issues with the female, partner, 30% are attributable to an issue with the male partner and the other 40% do not have an explainable cause. Infertility can be an extremely frustrating, heartbreaking, emotionally trying and difficult experience. When you want to become a parent, experiencing roadblocks is very hard. If you know someone experiencing infertility, be a good friend (or family member) - be there for them and remain sensitive. ResourcesThe National Infertility Awareness Week website offers a list of great resources. Consider the following:

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologyis a resource for couples interested in pursuing medical reproductive assistance. More about infertility from Pregnancy and Baby:

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