Infertility is a global issue that has surfaced in the lives of many in the recent years. While it can be a difficult topic, it is very important that we are aware of its reality. Today there are many usual misconceptions revolving around the topic–what is the truth about infertility?
- What is infertility?
The World Health Organization’s clinical definition for infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” This means that a couple can be considered infertile in the span of only a year. Today, about 1 in 8 couples are infertile and this statistic is on the incline.
- Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples
Many people don’t realize just how widespread infertility has become today. In fact, there are a few recent examples of celebrities who have shared their struggles of getting pregnant (for those who were brave enough):
In 2013, pop star Beyoncé revealed that she had a miscarriage before giving birth to her first daughter, Blue. Today, it is rumoured that she is undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments to help her get pregnant again. In addition, just a couple weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, revealed that they are finally pregnant after 3 miscarriages over the years. Both of these examples are healthy couples barely in their 30s.
- Not just a woman’s problem
The media tends to target women as the problem when it comes to infertility–constantly trying to scare us into having children at younger ages because the “biological clock” only ticks until the age of exactly 35 (which is not entirely true anyway). The truth of the matter is that men attribute to infertility almost half of the time: 30% of the time it is due to female factors, 30% of the time it is due to male factors, and up to 40% of the time infertility is due to a perfectly wrong combination or, more often than not, left unexplained.
- Infertility is not always explained by age
The “biological fertility clock” is different for everyone. While there is a long-term tendency that fertility decreases with age, it doesn’t simply vanish the day you turn 35. In fact, more and more the trend among future parents is to wait to have children until later in life–there are more than 35 celebrities who have had children in their 40s.
- What causes infertility?
There can be many different reasons why a couple is infertile, which is also what makes it so difficult to diagnose. Many of infertility cases are left unexplained, but a number of reasons for infertility could be due to genetics, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), other illnesses, low sperm count, poor sperm motility and viability, imbalance of hormones, the list goes on.
Today, there has been a lot of speculation on even more causes of infertility such as emotional health, stress, and certain types of food. One theory that is particularly disturbing is that carrying your cell phone in your pocket may cause infertility in men by reducing sperm count, sperm motility (how they are able to move), sperm viability (how long they are able to survive), and testosterone levels according to many studies. About 85% of men keep their phones in their pockets, which could potentially explain why one in five healthy young men between the ages of 18-25 developing abnormally low sperm counts.
Image Source: www.shutterstock.com