Infertility is a very common problem, but seldom discussed openly. Here are some facts about infertility that every woman should know.
Women are not the only sufferers
Turns out infertility is an equal-opportunity affliction: 30 percent of cases are due to female factor, 30 percent can be traced back to male factor, and the remaining 40 percent fall into that pesky "unexplained" category (or can be attributed to fertility issues with both partners). If you're in an opposite-sex relationship, you'll want to be sure to get both a female workup and male workup to pinpoint the cause of your reproductive woes.
Make sure you find support
As time ticks by without a positive pregnancy test, it's common to feel increasingly alone or feeling like- no one understands what you're feeling. Make sure you have someone you can talk to.
Understand your body
Whether struggling with infertility or not, the odds of getting pregnant are less than one might expect. When in your twenties, you have a 20-25 percent chance of pregnancy every month, and from ages 30 to 34, that number drops to 15 percent. After 35, women have only a 10 percent chance of conceiving every month. Somewhat scary statistics, but knowing how to track your ovulation and properly time the "baby dance" can help pump up your prospects.
When should you see a specialist?
Admitting that you might have infertility can be scary, but it's also an important step toward your ultimate goal: a family! Here's the litmus test according to experts: if you're under 35 and have been having unprotected sex for a year with no progress, it's time to get tested. If you're over 35, you'll want to see a specialist at the six-month mark. After the age of 35, the proportion of women who experience infertility, miscarriage or a problem with their baby increases. From a purely biological perspective, it's best to try to start a family before you're 35 years old.
IVF is not the only solution; there are less intensive and less expensive options as well
If the idea of IVF (and the financial resources required) is holding you back from seeing a fertility doctor, rest easy. Many couples start out—and have success—with less intensive treatments, such as ovulation-inducing oral medications (like Clomid) or IUI (intra-uterine insemination). These options are a fraction of the cost of IVF; however, they're not suitable for everyone. If you have blocked fallopian tubes, severe endometriosis, or a partner with severe male factor infertility, it's likely that IVF will be your key to conceiving.