Did you know humans are one of the least fertile species on Earth? There are only a few days each month that a couple can achieve pregnancy. As a man and woman gets older, the chances of conception decrease. By the time a woman is age 40, the chances of conception with regular, unprotected intercourse sits at around 5%.
Between 1960 and 1980, infertility increased in European countries. Many people believe this was due to an increase in pelvic inflammatory disease, which can damage the fallopian tubes in women. During the 1980s, infertility rates remained stable and neither rose nor dropped. However, since more women were reaching reproductive age, there were more infertile couples in the late 80s.
Since then, the birth rate in European countries has fallen. This is somewhat due to couples putting off having children or deciding not to have them altogether. The number of women aged over 35 who are giving birth for the first time has more than doubled, despite fertility declining in women this age.
Sterility is rare in the UK, with only 2.4% of women aged over 40 reporting unresolved infertility with no pregnancy over their reproductive years. Furthermore, 1.9% of women aged over 40 never gave birth despite becoming pregnant. Many couples will be able to achieve a successful pregnancy with a healthy, live birth with some help along the way. However, it is important to remember that as fertility declines with age, treatment success rates do too.
While it may seem like more couples are suffering from infertility, this is hugely due to the increased openness about infertility. There are also many more fertility treatment options available today. The expanded number of fertility clinics and treatment options is increasing awareness for the different fertility options that couples opt for.
Infertility is an issue that affects both men and women. Male infertility is the primary diagnosis in around 25% of cases. The good news is that fertility problems are usually not hereditary or genetic. There are many different causes for experiencing infertility, some of which may be hereditary, though you should talk to your doctor to find out more. It is hugely important that both partners are examined to determine the right course of action for a happy and healthy pregnancy.
If you think you are experiencing fertility problems and would like to talk to a specialist, we can help. We offer a range of treatments and services as well as patient information evenings every month. For more information, you can get in touch with a member of the Nurture Fertility team by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 0115 828 0246.