Many young women tend to believe that they are fertile and will have no problem conceiving a child when they’re ready to become mothers. However, infertility is more common than you may think. One in eight married couples has difficulty becoming pregnant. And once the woman does become pregnant, she may have trouble carrying the baby to full term. In fact, nearly 7 million women under the age of 44 have difficulty carrying a baby to term.
Finding the root cause can be difficult. In about one-third of cases, infertility is attributed to the woman and in about one-third, it’s attributed to the man. The remaining cases are caused by problems in both partners or are unexplained.
Age is one of the most common factors. Women who plan to become mothers should plan early on. The most fertile years for women are between the ages of 20 and 24. After that, fertility declines every year. Between the ages of 29 and 33, a couple with a normal functioning reproductive system has a small chance of conceiving – between 20 and 25%. By age 40, only 40% of women will be able to conceive.
Fortunately, there are infertility treatments that can help. Nearly 12% of women have received infertility services to help make their dream of having a baby come true. Surgical procedures and drugs have greatly helped those who are infertile. In fact, as many as 90% of cases are treated with these types of infertility procedures.
Many couples also opt for artificial insemination. In this procedure, the man’s sperm (or sperm from another man, if the husband is deemed infertile) is placed into the woman’s uterus or cervix in hopes of achieving pregnancy. The artificial insemination process is often done around the time the woman is ovulating in order to increase the chances of success.
Infertility can be pricey. If you do choose to pursue, be aware of the costs. One cycle of IVF can cost $10,000 or more – and it may not even be successful the first time around. Success rates vary depending on the woman’s age.