Infertility is an abnormal condition of the female reproductive system that prevents a woman from getting pregnant or stops her from carrying a pregnancy to full term. In this post, we will go through the infertility statistics in women of all ages.
A diagnosis of infertility is generally given to those women who have been trying to conceive for 9 months to one year without success or with one or more miscarriages.
Conception and healthy pregnancy are processes that are dependent on several factors such as:
- healthy sperm produced by the male.
- healthy eggs produced the female.
- healthy fallopian tubes which allow the sperm to fertilize the egg.
- successful implantation of the fertilized egg inside the woman’s uterus.
- an embryo that is not damaged structurally or that has abnormal chromosomes.
For a successful pregnancy to happen the embryo needs to be healthy and the woman’s hormonal balances need to be adequate for the embryo to develop normally within the womb.
If any of the above factors are not successful, infertility problems can occur. This means not being able to conceive at all, or being able to conceive but not carry the pregnancy to term.
Infertility Not Just a Woman’s Problem
Although statistics often focus more on fertility in women than in men, it’s important to note that infertility isn’t just a female problem. Approximately one-third of infertility cases have a direct relation to women.
Another one-third of infertility issues are related to men, leaving the remaining one-third as a combination of infertility issues that involve both women and men.
About 20 percent of all infertility cases have an unknown cause which is never diagnosed. Many times it’s not easy to determine exactly what is causing a couple from not being able to get pregnant.
These unknown causes are often the most difficult for a couple to deal with as they have very little control over what infertility treatments they should even be attempting.
What is the Infertility Statistics for Women?
As of 2012, the following are the statistics on infertility in women living in the United States:
- 6,000,000 women aged 15 to 44 have infertility issues.
- 2,000,000 couples aged 15 to 44 have infertility issues.
- 1,500,000 women aged 15 to 44 were unable to get pregnant in the first year.
- 7,400,000 women aged 15 to 44 have used infertility treatments and services.
The above statistics come from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and the American Pregnancy Association.
Is Infertility Statistics Rising?
Many women aren’t even aware that they have fertility issues until they try to become pregnant. Since many more women than ever are waiting until they are in their mid-30s to early 40s to start their family, infertility statistics are becoming higher all the time.
These higher statistics are because maternal age has a direct impact on how fertile a woman is. Fertility decreases with age. This is because each woman is born with all the eggs that she’ll ever have.
As women age, the eggs age as well and become less viable.
The following breakdown of fertility statistics show the impact of age on a woman’s ability to get pregnant:
- of women aged 15 to 29, 11 percent will be infertile.
- of women aged 30 to 34, 16.9 percent will be infertile.
- of women aged 35 to 39, 22.6 percent will be infertile.
- of women aged 40 to 44, 27.4 percent will be infertile.
These figures clearly show that the older a woman is when she tries to get pregnant, the harder it will be for her to conceive.
How Many Women Seek Treatment for Infertility?
Research shows that while infertility statistics have not significantly increased over the years, what has increased is the number of women who are seeking treatment.
As Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) becomes more advanced, the choices concerning infertility problems and getting pregnant are increasing all the time.
Where women once often had to accept that they were unable to conceive, women these days have treatments available to them that significantly increase their chances of conception.
Not only are ART treatments becoming more successful, so is the testing available to women to diagnose their infertility problem.
This advanced testing pinpoints fertility problems much better than ever, leading to higher live birth rates in women who have experienced fertility problems.
Can’t Ignore the Statistics
For women who wait until they are in their 30s to get pregnant, the facts can’t be ignored. Fertility peaks when women are in their 20s.
If women want the statistics to be on their side, they need to start thinking about getting pregnant while they are in their 20s. For many women, this isn’t an option as they put personal and professional choices ahead of starting a family.
So long as women are aware that their chances of easily conceiving decreases with age, they’ll be able to make informed decisions that are right for them.