When it comes to infertility, we can feel like we are the only ones going through it. But as these stats show – millions of people around the world are facing the same struggles as you. Breaking infertility down by numbers can help you get some perspective and feel less alone.
1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility
If you are facing fertility struggles, you can feel totally isolated. It might seem like everyone you know is having babies with ease, but the truth is that there are millions of people around the world for who conceiving is a challenge.
This exact statistic tends to fluctuate depending on which country the study or survey takes place in and what age group the research focuses on. However, 1 in 6 is a pretty conservative estimate, with some research indicating it could be as high as 1 in 4 couples who are struggling to conceive. This means that if you are dealing with infertility, there is a high likelihood that someone in your inner circle is going through the same thing! Whilst no one finds comfort in other people’s pain, it can be reassuring to know that you are not alone in your fertility challenges and that millions of people around the world understand what you’re going through.
30% of cases are purely due to male fertility factors
Fertility has historically been thought of as a ‘women’s issue’ but it could not be further from the cases. The truth is that when it comes to contributing factors of infertility, things are pretty split between the sexes.
Generally speaking, male-factor infertility issues – like low sperm count or poor motility – are the reason for 30% of infertility cases and around the same amount is down to purely female fertility factors. The remaining 40% is due to a combination of both male and female factors. Outside of this, around 15-20% of cases of infertility are deemed as ‘unexplained’ – meaning there are no clear reasons why conception is proving difficult.
These stats are not about finding someone to ‘blame’ for infertility – it’s never your fault! – but it’s important to remember that protecting, improving and testing male fertility is just as important as the female side of things. In many cases, male factor fertility issues are actually more easily rectified than those relating to women, so if you’re on a fertility journey make sure you’re not left on the sidelines and get proactive about investigating your sperm health – it could hold the key to unlocking your fertility problems.
1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss
Pregnancy loss is still treated as a taboo topic – and this shouldn’t be the case. Miscarriage is far more common than many of us realise, because so many of us are suffering in silence.
The majority of miscarriages happen within the first trimester – a time that is often shrouded in secrecy. There is a societal norm to keep a pregnancy secret for the first three months and that’s purely because the chances of miscarriage are higher. Whilst this recommendation was originally designed to protect people from heartbreak, it actually just stops them from sharing their experiences and isolates people and couples from their support network.
The silence surrounding miscarriage also means that if it happens to us we feel like it’s our fault, that there’s a way we could have prevented it. The fact that pregnancy loss happens to so many people, and is so often unexplained, proves that this simply isn’t true. If you have lost a baby on your road to parenthood, try to replace blame with compassion for yourself and take any steps necessary to get the support you need.
You can learn more about pregnancy loss and where to get support here.
More than six million children are born through assisted fertility treatments
Since the first IVF baby was born in 1978, the world of assisted fertility has evolved incredibly. There are now millions of people around the world who would not be here if it weren’t for the power of fertility treatments – and we think that’s pretty incredible.
Not only do processes like IVF and ICSI help couples struggling with infertility to become parents, but they also open doors for LGBTQ+ couples who want to build a family. If you are embarking on an assisted fertility journey, you might feel overwhelmed or be struggling to come to terms with the fact you are unable to conceive naturally. It can help to remember that you are joining a community of millions who have benefitted from fertility treatment and that there is no longer one ‘standard’ way to make a baby. Understanding your options can help you feel more in control of the situation and give you a more positive outlook. You can learn more about assisted fertility treatments here.
90% of people facing long-term infertility stated that they had experienced depression
By now we all recognise how important supporting our mental health is, but sometimes it still feels like the impact a fertility journey can have on our emotional well-being is underestimated.
A Fertility Network UK survey not only discovered that 90% of infertility patients struggle with symptoms of depression, but 42% even reported feeling suicidal. Despite the clear need for mental health support throughout a fertility journey, few people report receiving effective counselling during treatment.
If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are many incredible support networks out there to help connect you with experts who can help you navigate these challenges, and other people and couples who know what you’re going through and lend an empathetic ear. There is even a specific online group for men called HIM Fertility, run by our friend Ian Stones, which is definitely worth checking out if you need a safe space to talk about your feelings.
Whatever your journey to parenthood looks like, remember, infertility is not an island and you are not alone.
Do you know about your fertility? Trying for a baby, or planning to in the future? The possibility of male factor infertility is a very real consideration when trying to conceive, and it’s now easier than ever to check male fertility in the comfort of your home, without long waiting times and without breaking the bank. Explore if ExSeed’s At-Home Sperm Test Kit could be for you!