Infertility: Fast Facts

Here are some fast facts on infertility according to the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC):

-- Approximately 6.1 million couples in the United States, or 10 percent of all couples of childbearing age, have difficulty conceiving.

-- When no fertility problems are present, the average couple between ages 29 and 33 has about a 20 to 25 percent chance of becoming pregnant during any given menstrual cycle.

-- About one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to males, another third to females and the remaining third to both members of a couple. About 10 to 20 percent of infertility cases go unexplained, although these couples often later succeed in becoming pregnant.

-- Ovulation abnormalities and sperm deficiencies are the most common causes of infertility. Together, they are responsible for two-thirds of infertility problems.

-- About 15 percent of female infertility cases are the result of fallopian tube disease while irregular ovulation accounts for about 25 percent.

-- About 60 to 70 percent of women who have a laparoscopy as part of their infertility assessment are found to have endometriosis, a painful condition in which endometrial cells -- usually only found lining the uterus -- grow in other locations.

-- A 29-year-old woman has a 20 percent per month chance of getting pregnant -- compared to 7 percent for a woman at age 39.

-- In 85 to 90 percent of all cases, infertility is treated with either medication or surgery. Just 5 to 10 percent of infertility treatments involve in vitro fertilization or other kinds of assisted reproductive technologies, in which a laboratory is used to try to help a couple become pregnant.

-- There are about 600 reproductive endocrinologists (fertility specialists) in the United States, compared to 28,000 ob/gyns (obstetricians-gynecologists).

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