Fertility and Infertility

One in six couples experience issues with fertility and often keep this information to themselves and because of this trying time, they can experience feelings such as shame and guilt. It goes without saying, that this touchy subject has been historically taboo. It’s a frequent occurrence when you think of your friendship group and that one in six of those friends could be having a difficult time trying to conceive. Created with the goal to help increase the communication, education, and empowerment around this heart-breaking situation (1) , World Fertility Day comes as an opportunity for us to learn more about a subject that is unfortunately so common.

November 2nd is World Fertility Day

World Fertility Day 2021 is a day dedicated to inspiring those who suffer from fertility issues and for those who are supporting someone who does. This international fertility day aims to empower people to share their infertility experiences and their unique journeys openly with one another in order to help raise awareness and inspire others to speak up (1). We know all too well a problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to a friend when you have any issue always helps and it’s certainly the case with infertility. 

Why is there a world fertility day?

Globally, 48.5 million couples experience infertility (3). A survey in India has established that at least 25 percent of couples face problems with fertility at some point and avoid talking to a doctor about it (2). An estimated 15% of couples in the US will have trouble conceiving (3). This year’s World Fertility Day date takes place on November 2nd with the goal being to raise awareness around infertility, dispel common misconceptions, educate those affected and equip those supporting friends and relatives who are affected with infertility. Couples who have issues with infertility are not alone and it’s important that if you are struggling with infertility problems you know there is support out there and that there is sometimes no explicit one cause for infertility. 

What are the most common infertility factors? 

The most common infertility factors in people with a male reproductive system are:

  • Sperm disorders including production quantity, quality, and motility 
  • Varicocele diseases 
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Immunologic infertility 
  • Obstruction
  • Hormones
  • Medications4

The most common infertility factors in people with a female reproductive system are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Cervical cancer
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia5

Sometimes there is no specific cause as both members of the couple could be fertile but when matching the sperm and egg together it simply does not take. Try not to blame one another but show love and understanding for each other as you go through this troubling time. Don’t be afraid to seek support from your healthcare team. There are a lot of resources available to you. 

How is infertility diagnosed?

Often when people start to try to get pregnant, they realize that despite unprotected sex (if a heterosexual couple), they aren’t conceiving. They’re typically told to try for a solid year of unprotected intimate relations and try to time these occurrences around the ovulation part of the menstrual cycle. Usually above the age of 36 women are only expected to try for 6 months before some investigation work is carried out to determine the reason for the apparent infertility. Hormonal blood tests, ultrasound, sonography, ovarian testing, and imaging procedures are some of the steps that follow to try to determine where the dysfunction lies. These procedures can be invasive but are not typically painful. 

Is infertility treatable?

Yes, in many cases infertility can be treated. Surgery is an option when there is a physiological issue and fertility medicines (hormones) can stimulate egg production for ovarian disorders if that is the issue. As well, some medicines can even increase testicular function to boost sperm count. There are also some lifestyle changes a person can make that will contribute to the likelihood of fertilization, including weight loss or smoking cessation. Other methods to consider include intrauterine insemination (IUI), a procedure whereby sperm is placed inside a person’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. Assisted reproductive technology such as in-vitro fertilization is another option available to those wishing to start a family. It is always best to work with your healthcare provider on the most suitable course of action for you. 

Other international days linked to the topic of infertility

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) day offers a ray of hope to such people and is celebrated on the July 25th worldwide. The world’s first IVF baby was born on July 25th, 1978 which is why this is celebrated on this day!2

World Infertility Awareness Month is also celebrated every June with the goal of increasing awareness regarding numerous infertility issues faced by people across the globe.6

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), which occurred between April 18-24, 2021 discusses the issues facing this community and makes sure to continue to support those most in need.7

As you can see there is a lot of support out there if you are having trouble starting your family. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get the help you need.

Perifit: strengthen your pelvic floor with games and take the guesswork out of Kegels

Perifit advocates for everyone’s health and wellbeing and is committed to providing information on topics related to personal health. The Perifit Kegel trainer guides you in your pelvic floor training, gives stats and feedback about your program and progress and helps you keep track of your goals by using the probe and mobile app. This device uses an app, which can be accessed through your smartphone, to provide pelvic floor training to all users regardless of age or pelvic floor condition. Perifit offers a fun and engaging way to practice your Kegels and gives you the confidence to lead your life without the fear of any potentially embarrassing moments.

 

References: 

  1. World Fertility Day, ‘Why World Fertility Day is so important’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://www.worldfertilityday.com/why-world-fertility-day-is-so-important/ 
  2. India Today, ‘Here’s why Agra celebrates World IVF Day as Utsav Day’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/agra/story/why-agra-celebrates-world-ivf-day-as-utsav-day-1832562-2021-07-26 
  3. The checkup by Single Care, ‘Infertility statistics 2021: How many couples are affected by infertility?’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/infertility-statistics/ 
  4. Urology Care Foundation, ‘What is Male Infertility’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/m/male-infertility 
  5. Web MD, ‘Women’s Health: Top Reproductive Problems’ date accessed on 10/20.2021: https://www.webmd.com/women/ss/slideshow-women-reproductive-problems 
  6. National Today, ‘World Infertility Awareness Month – June 2022’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://nationaltoday.com/world-infertility-awareness-month/#:~:text=World%20Infertility%20Awareness%20Month%20%E2%80%93%20June%202022&text=World%20Infertility%20Awareness%20Month%20is,as%20well%20as%20male%20fertility
  7. National infertility awareness week, ‘What I Want You To Know’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://infertilityawareness.org/ 
  8. Perifit, ‘Strengthen your pelvic floor with games’ date accessed on 10/20/2021: https://perifit.co/