It is widely known that the population is marrying later. Seeking financial stability, increased opportunities and having the world at your fingertips has changed the way individuals' lives unfold. This shift in priorities has led to people putting off not only marriage, but also procreation. More couples than ever before are waiting until later in life for childbirth and child rearing. Advances in technology such as in vitro fertilization, oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) and egg donation has allowed conception in later years; however, many desire to conceive in the traditional manner. This paradigm shift has then led to a surge in couples facing infertility issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 10-15 percent of couples in the United States are infertile. Infertile couples are defined as not having conceived after at least one year of regular, unprotected sex. Studies show that a woman’s fertility starts to drop after she is about thirty-two years old, particularly after age thirty-five. Male fertility progressively drops after age forty. So despite couples feeling less pressured to marry, they do, however, continue to feel the pressure to conceive. For the ones who do not give in to the pressure of the ticking biological clock, they may later encounter issues when ready to bear children. Even the most secure woman can be devastated when faced with the reality of infertility.
But here are some reasons you should not fret!
1. Infertility may be reversible
Many causes of female infertility are things that are reversible. Excessive exercise or weight abnormalities, certain medications, medical conditions, and uterine growths are related to infertility and can be corrected with assistance. There are also hormonal and reproductive track abnormalities that can be addressed with medical intervention.
2. He can take action
Studies show that at least one-third of infertility cases are related to male causes.22 These can be anything from sperm production or functional issues, lifestyle issues (for example, smoking, excessive alcohol use, marijuana, or steroids), or illness. Urge your guy to also get evaluated for ways he can improve his fertility.
3. It’s better to have fun trying
Many couples report that the stress of procreating alone stood in their way of conceiving. Sex can start to become routine, unromantic, and mechanical when in the process. The repeated negative pregnancy tests can become demoralizing. The stress of the situation itself, compounded by normal life stressors, can lead to further issues with fertility. Stress reduction techniques and lifestyle changes often allow couples to conceive who couldn’t before. Lowering stress to increase fertility can be as simple as a massage, acupuncture, or weekend getaways.
4. There are other reasonable options
I know, I know. You want to conceive your child the good old-fashioned way. But when it comes down to it, there have been dramatic developments in assisted reproductive technology. Contact your gynecologist for an evaluation to discuss your options.
The opinions expressed here are solely my own as a psychiatrist and public health advocate. I receive no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.
My new book—The Modern Trophy Wife: How to Achieve Your Life Goals While Thriving at Home — is now available in electronic, paperback and hard cover versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ibooks.
My website is http://www.ayogathingmd.com