Infertility can be a highly emotional journey fraught with uncertainty and an ongoing rollercoaster of hope and disappointment. Here’s a basic outline of what you need to know.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive within a 12-month period while actively trying. About 1 in 6 couples experience infertility and it can be a very lonely and truly heart wrenching experience, particularly when you don’t know why you can’t get pregnant and you start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to have a baby.
Generally speaking, there are two main umbrellas of infertility – Primary, where you are trying to have your first child, and Secondary, where you already have one (or more) children and you are unable to fall pregnant again.
It is often wrongly assumed that when a couple is having difficulty conceiving, the issue lies with the woman. However, approximately 30% of fertility problems originate with the woman, and 30% with the man. A third of couples will have a combination of male and female factors contributing to their inability to conceive. In around 10% of couples, no cause can be found and this is called Unexplained Infertility.
Causes of Infertility
There are many potential causes of infertility, therefore it is suggested that if you are aged 35 or older and have not become pregnant within a 6-month time frame, it is recommended that you consult with your GP who may send you and your partner for some initial screening tests. If you are under 35, it is generally recommended that you wait until you have been trying for more than 12 months – unless of course you have a pre-existing condition that you are already aware of.