How common is male and female infertility?
In the United States, around 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age experience infertility. The cause of infertility is approximately 1/3 male factor, 1/3 female factor and 1/3 is with both male and female or cannot be identified. There are five common myths regarding infertility.
1. Women can only get pregnant one day per cycle
Menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman. A healthy menstrual cycle can last between 21 to 36 days. A woman may get pregnant after having sex five days before and two days after ovulation.
2. Infertility is a psychological problem
This is absolutely not the case. Infertility is caused by physical problems which can affect the reproductive system in men and women. These can include low sperm count, endometriosis, early menopause, PCOS and premature ovarian failure.
3. Couples who are not getting pregnant are not trying hard enough
Many couples who experience fertility problems seek fertility treatment and are able to have a successful pregnancy. It is important to remember that infertility is a medical problem and it needs to be treated, just like any other health issue. IVF is one of the most common treatments used for infertility.
4. Sperm only live for a few hours
This is also not true. When sperm are in fertile cervical fluid, they can survive for up to five days. Men who have a physical problem which prevent ejaculation can have sperm harvested with a medical procedure.
5. Women have to wait 3 months after stopping birth control
Birth control pills prevent a woman from becoming pregnant by reducing the level of certain hormones and preventing ovulation. Once a woman stops taking birth control pills, hormone levels return to normal very quickly. Conceiving is possible at the next ovulation cycle.
While infertility can affect men and women equally, there are many solutions available. Speaking to a fertility specialist is the first step towards increasing chances of starting a family.
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