When you want to start a family and aren’t able to, it can be the most heartbreaking challenge you will ever face. Sadly, for the 7.3 million couples who struggle with infertility, the pain and frustration cannot be overstated.
Infertility will not only delay your dreams of parenthood, it can also threaten your relationship, your self-esteem, and your sex life. Consider the following things that every couple must know about infertility:
It can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what your age is or how healthy your lifestyle is, you might still grapple with infertility issues. Certainly young and healthy couples have a better chance of conception than couples who don’t make healthy lifestyle choices, but that doesn’t mean they are automatically exempt from infertility woes. There are many possible causes of infertility, many of which have a genetic basis; these can range from low sperm count to reproductive issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Conditions like these are often out of a couple’s control, although there are treatment options and lifestyle choices that can help to improve fertility.
It happens more often than you think. Although infertility is often considered a taboo topic, the truth is that millions of couples grapple with this issue. The pathway to parenthood is not always smooth. Anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and most of these occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. The older a woman is, the more likely she is to miscarry — women over 45 years of age have a 50 percent chance of miscarriage. Although losing a baby is unbelievably painful, many women have successful pregnancies after a miscarriage. Even though nothing can ever cure your grief, a miscarriage doesn’t have to signal the end of your baby dreams.
Sometimes doctors don’t know why it happens. Although there are several clear reasons behind infertility (such as cervical disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, and issues with sperm motility and sperm shape), sometimes doctors can’t explain why it occurs. Unexplained infertility — the condition in which there’s no apparent physical reason — is believed to affect 20 percent to 25 percent of couples. Unexplained infertility can be especially frustrating because since there’s no explanation there’s no clear path to a solution. The flip side is that nothing is clearly amiss, so a pregnancy might be possible down the road.
There are many options available for treatment. From in vitro fertilization to hormonal treatments to medication to sperm injection, there are many treatment options available to couples who are struggling with infertility. There are also other options besides traditional pregnancy, such as surrogacy and adoption, both of which can give you the child you and your partner so desperately seek. The most important point is to stay connected, communicative, and open to the possibilities. If parenthood is what you seek, you can make it happen!
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