As many as one in six couples trying to conceive experience infertility — and the number keeps rising.
More and more couples are finding it harder to successfully conceive a child even after a year or two of unprotected intercourse. This is a stark contrast to the scenario 20 to 30 years ago, prompting us to delve deeper into the causes and solutions to this growing concern.
The increasing prevalence of infertility
The prevalence of infertility is often underestimated. Current statistics reveal that up to one in six couples attempting to conceive will face infertility issues. Alarmingly, recent research indicates that 15% of couples are unable to successfully conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse. The situation doesn’t improve much after two years, with 10% of couples still not achieving a successful pregnancy. Moreover, the projection for the future suggests an escalating trend.
Why is infertility on the rise?
There are many factors contributing to the rise in infertility rates. Some of the primary causes are rooted in changing societal norms and life choices.
Years ago, it was common for women to have their first child around the age of 21. Now, that average age has shifted to 26 or 27, as more couples choose to first establish their careers or finish their education. This delay in starting a family leads to increasing age-related fertility issues.
As we age, we also increase our exposure to environmental toxins and sexually transmitted diseases, both of which can have a negative impact on fertility. Furthermore, health problems can arise with age, and some treatments for these conditions can also contribute to infertility.
How does age affect fertility?
One of the biggest factors contributing to infertility is age. Statistics show that for couples under 30, 20%-37% can conceive within the first three months of trying. However, after age 30, a woman’s fertility begins to decline more rapidly with each passing year. This trend is a significant factor in the rising infertility rates, as more couples choose to delay starting their families.
Seeking help for infertility
If you’re struggling to conceive, you’re not alone, and there is help available. Speak with your doctor, who can answer your personal questions and provide further advice or referrals to fertility specialists if needed. There are numerous treatments and strategies available that have proven successful for many couples.
The increasing global rise in infertility is a pressing concern. As we navigate these challenges, it’s essential to stay informed, to understand the factors that may affect your fertility, and to seek medical advice when needed. Remember to take care of your overall health and well-being, which can significantly impact your fertility.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (1 August 2023)