In April, many countries recognise Infertility Awareness and this year at M Parley we wanted to do a special article to raise awareness. Infertility is an interesting topic because it is inherently depressing, add to that the brutal facts that most don’t want to hear along with the blatant misconceptions and we’ve got ourselves a very interesting situation.
Let’s start with the misconceptions. Infertility to many ears is synonymous with “she can’t have a baby”. Inaccurate on so many levels. While infertility does result in difficulty when trying to conceive, many causes are treatable or manageable and management often results in conception. Even worse is the idea that it is the woman that is infertile. Causes of infertility are almost evenly split with some infertility being caused by mixed causes; causes that involve an issue on both the male and female side.
There are some brutal facts though that tend to pertain more to women. While about 90% of women can get pregnant at age 30 there is a precipitous drop to 77% by age 35 and down to 53% by age 40. Many women take their lead from celebrities who have mountains of dollars to spend on fertility treatment. They think that if this celebrity can have a child in their forties then so can I. But alas, not true. The truth is that while many modern day women want to focus on their careers and then have children, that is not a luxury easily come by. The stress of infertility comes bearing down even harder than the stress of being a working mother. Regardless of pop culture narrative, biology dictates that having children earlier is better, that’s just the brutal fact.
Causes of infertility on the male side can be due to a problem with the sperm, such as a low sperm count or poor quality sperm that aren’t able to swim well. There can also be problems with blocked passageways which prevent the sperm from passing, these are often caused by a history of sexually transmitted infections. Similar problems with blocked passageways can happen in women for the same reasons, that prevent the egg from being able to get from the ovaries, into the uterus, which is essential for conception. Of course, general health of all organs and mental health all comes into play to make conception possible. Stress is actually a hindrance to conception.
With all of that said, what’s most important is how hard the entire ordeal is for the couple. The emotional turmoil, financial stress and feeling of inadequacy are indescribable and developing a cultural sensitivity to what so many couples experience is extremely imperative.
Stay strong lovely people!