egg and sperm (depicted with cookie and frosting)

Some (not-so) Fun Infertility Facts

“While everyone experiences stress differently, you can’t underestimate it. The further you go [with fertility treatments], the more stressful it is if it doesn’t work. If it works, you’re done. Everyone is happy. If it doesn’t, some people have lost a major part of their self, what they believe to be their future, and that’s terrifying.”

Dr. William Hurd, chief medical officer for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Are you (or is someone you know) dealing with infertility right now? Chances are good you do know someone, even if they’ve never told you about their struggle. 1 in 8 couples (some sources say more like 1 in 5) are unable to pregnant after a year of trying, which technically means they qualify as “infertile.”

Here are a few (not-so-fun) facts I’ve learned about infertility over the past few years:

  • In infertile couples, there is an equal chance that the cause is from the man or the woman (this is not just a woman’s issue!)
  • In one third of infertile couples, the problem can’t be identified OR is a combination of factors from a man and woman.
  • Secondary infertility (not being able to get pregnant after the birth of one or more children) occurs at the same rate as primary infertility. 50% of infertility cases are secondary infertility.

Even-less-fun facts about infertility and mental health:

  • As many as 21-52% of women struggling with infertility experience depression.
  • “While infertility treatments are physically demanding, several studies suggest that the emotional stress of the ordeal is the primary reason many couples decide to give up.”
  • Anxiety and depression increased in couples who had failed ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) treatments.

The infertility journey is a hard road, and on the days I find myself not handling things well, in a small way it helps to remember that it is totally normal to not be handling infertility well! The psychological toll it takes is very real. The stress it adds to your life, your marriage, your body, and your relationships – are all real.

Sources:

  1. Saying No To IVF (blog)
  2. Recognizing the Psychological Toll of Infertility in Women (ADAA)
  3. How Infertility and Depression May Influence Each Other (healthline.com)
  4. Depression and Anxiety Outcomes Associated with Failed Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (NIH)
  5. Understanding Secondary Infertility (UPMC)

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