Infertility is a touchy subject. There is so much emotion tied to infertility for both women and men. And although statistics tell us that infertility affects men and women equally, the emotional effect seems more intense for women. Perhaps it is because women are the ones to carry and birth the child.
Regardless, being childless because of infertility is hard on a couple. In the traditional family, the man would provide with a career that supports his wife and children; the woman would birth and nurture their children. And so, as we go back to our roots, it makes sense that women are emotionally affected by infertility the way men are affected by unemployment. It tugs at the nature of women. That is not to say that men don’t hurt when they are childless. And it’s not say that women are not affected by unemployment. It is simply a suggestion for one reason infertility is often so emotionally painful for women.
Infertility affects 6.7 million women just in the United States alone. That equals nearly 12% of the population of child-bearing-age women. But when couples find themselves unable to conceive and they seek medical attention, it is found that the man’s infertility is responsible in 40% of the cases. About ¼ of all infertile couple have multiple factors that contribute to their infertility. And so it gets complicated.
However, the good news is that in most cases (nearly 90%), conventional medication and/or surgery brings positive results. More good news, provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, is that there are some things that individuals and couples can incorporate to reduce infertility. For couples who smoke, “kicking the habit” may help. Fertility can increase for those who do not smoke. It’s a good idea for women who smoke, anyway, since there is a higher risk of miscarriage for pregnant women who smoke. Some women are infertile because of carrying too much weight, or being under-weight. The infertility can be reversed as weight is brought into the “normal” range.
According to Resolve.org (The National Infertility Association), one in eight couples have problems conceiving and/or sustaining a pregnancy. With such high statistics, more and more support groups and organizations are popping up. It should be remembered that infertility is a medical issue, and not a problem with the mind. The “old-wives-tales” that one should “just relax” or “stop stressing” is not only erroneous, but also creates unnecessary pressure on infertile couples.