Infertility means a couple is unable to get pregnant after one year of regular unprotected sex. Both men and women may contribute to infertility. Couples who experience infertility require medical intervention in order to conceive.
Infertility is not hereditary but certain medical conditions that cause infertility may be genetic.
For men, infertility is often attributed to low sperm count, abnormal sperm function or a blockage that prevents the delivery of sperm. Female factors are often harder to identify and may include irregular, too long or too short of menstrual cycles; irregular or lack of ovulation; or damage to female reproductive organs.
Stress is not a direct cause of infertility. However, infertility may certainly cause stress and affect ovulation or frequency of sex that prevents pregnancy.
Infertility may affect both genders equally. Approximately 15% of couples suffer from infertility, one-third are attrributed to male infertility, one-third female and the remainder are either unknown or due to both male and female factors. 6.7 million women in the United States, ages 15 – 44 are either unable to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. Roughly 4 million men in the United States are diagnosed with infertility.
• Excessive alcohol use.
• Extreme weight gain or loss.
• Excessive physical or emotional stress that results in amenorrhea (absent periods).
* 12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much
* Smokers have decreased fertility and the risk of miscarriage is higher for pregnant women who smoke.
* Up to 13% of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking.
Most experts suggest at least one year for women younger than age 35. However, women aged 35 years or older, or have irregular menstrual cycles, should see a health care provider or a reproductive endocrinologist (infertility specialist) after 6 months of trying unsuccessfully. A woman’s chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30. Men should seek the assistance of a urologist who specializes in infertility.
There are various treatments available, depending on what is preventing pregnancy, ranging from medication to surgery to assisted reproductive technology.
The cost of treatments may vary depending on factors such as your geography, insurance coverage, level of physician monitoring (exams, blood work, ultrasounds), pathology, physician’s fee, medication costs, etc.
Oral medications (Clomid) may cost $10-20 per month.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) may range from $500-700 per month.
Injectible hormones may cost $2,500- $3,500 per month.
The average cost of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle in the U.S. is $12,400.