What is Infertility?

What is Infertility?

What is Infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability of a female to conceive (fall pregnant) following a minimum of 13 months of regular, unprotected intercourse (or 6 months for individuals over 35 years of age). Infertility as a term must be distinguished from ‘impaired fecundity’ which is the incapacity of a female to sustain a pregnancy to term. It is estimated that more than 15% of the world’s women population aged 16 to 44 suffer impaired ability to conceive. The number of infertile couples in the general population has shown a dramatic increase during the past 25 years. The decline in fertility can be attributed to a collection of different factors most important of which is delaying motherhood. A couple up to the age of 32 with a normal functioning reproductive system has no more than 25% chance of conceiving in any given month. More than 50% of couples who had tried for at least 6 months will conceive within this period while the rest may need medical advice and assistance.
A successful pregnancy, results following an interplay of complex processes associated with ovulation, fertilization, early embryo development and subsequent implantation into the uterus.
The human pregnancy is divided into three trimester periods with the first being associated with the highest risk of miscarriage mainly due to abnormalities in the chromosome content of the early developing embryo. Pregnancies which reach senescence before a heart beat has been detected on ultrasound (a heart beat confirms a clinical pregnancy) are termed biochemical. Extensive data analysis reveals that up to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage while chemical pregnancies may account for up to 75% of early pregnancy loss. A pregnancy which had reached the 12th week of gestation and its health status is confirmed by medical analysis as low risk has less than 1% chance of being miscarried.
In approximately one third of the cases the cause of infertility is associated with the male while an equal rate is attributed to female factors. Infertility causes may also involve both the male and the female partners (around 30%), or very rarely the cause will not be identified (less than 2%).