Infertility is a common medical condition that is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of repeated, unprotected intercourse. A year was chosen, because most fertile couples are able to conceive within one year.
Approximately 10% to 20% of couples in the United States are infertile, and their infertility may be due to one partner or both:
- 40% to 50% of infertility problems are due to the woman.
- 30% to 40% of infertility problems are due to the man.
- 10% to 30% of infertility problems are due to both partners or the cause is unknown.
Being infertile doesn't mean that a couple will never conceive. In time, 60% of infertile couples eventually conceive, either on their own or with the help of fertility treatments. The advantage of fertility treatments is that they shorten the time it takes to conceive and help many couples who would not be able to conceive on their own.
While fertility treatments can be successful, they also present a few challenges. The treatments:
- May be expensive.
- May be time-consuming.
- May require surgery or invasive procedures.
- May not be covered by health insurance.
- Are not always successful.
To better cope with these issues, couples often receive counseling before, during, and after fertility treatments. Counseling also helps couples manage the stress that often results from infertility issues.