“Infertility” is a disease, condition, or status characterized by any of the following:
The inability to achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient’s medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing, or any combination of those factors.
The need for medical intervention, including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy either as an individual or with a partner.
In patients having regular, unprotected intercourse and without any known etiology for either partner suggestive of impaired reproductive ability, evaluation should be initiated at 12 months when the female partner is under 35 years of age and at six months when the female partner is 35 years of age or older.
If you have been unable to conceive after six months to one year of unprotected intercourse, you should consult with a doctor. If you are older than 35 years of age, you should consult with a doctor after 6 months of unprotected intercourse without conception. Women over 40 should consult with a fertility specialist immediately.
Yes. In the United States, among married women of childbearing age, about 1 in 5 (19%) are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying. One in four women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term (Source: CDC).
Infertility affects both men and women. Up to 40% of infertile couples have at least some form of male factor infertility involved (Source: ACOG). About 9% of men and about 11% of women of reproductive age in the United States have experienced fertility problems (Source: NIH). Approximately 30% of couples who undergo a complete fertility workup are diagnosed with unexplained infertility, meaning no specific cause is identified (Source: ACOG).
Treatment may include fertility medication, referral to other specialists, and/or other procedures depending on your particular situation. Recent improvements in medication, surgery, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques make pregnancy possible for more than half of the couples who seek treatment.
With improvements in technology and the availability of IVF, a large number of couples are able to conceive. In fact, more than 10 million babies have been born worldwide as a result of assisted reproductive technologies (Source: Doulgeraki T, Iliodromiti S. Reproductive outcomes in women and men conceived by assisted reproductive technologies. BMJ Med. 2023 Apr 5;2(1):e000547. doi: 10.1136/bmjmed-2023-000547. PMID: 37051027; PMCID: PMC10083816). In the United States, 2.1% of all births are a result of advanced assisted reproductive technology (Source: CDC).
Your Baylor Medicine fertility specialist can share with you the statistics that apply to your particular situation.
Potential side effects vary depending on the treatment. Your Baylor Medicine physician will talk with you about the potential side effects of your particular treatment.
The medications and procedures required for IVF are rarely associated with complications. As with all medical treatments, however, some problems may occur. Your Baylor Medicine fertility specialist will discuss these unlikely risks with you and what steps can be taken during your care to minimize those risks.
To learn more, we recommend the following websites and resources:
Reproductive Facts from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine