It is amazing the number and diversity of patients that come to our office every day to seek the workup and treatment of infertility. I am commonly asked if infertility is more common today than in the past. It seems like more and more people are being diagnosed with infertility and undergoing infertility treatments.
It is estimated that there are 2.5 million couples diagnosed with infertility in the United States each year. Interestingly, the overall incidence of infertility has remained relatively unchanged for over the past 30 years. What has changed dramatically during this time is the evaluation and treatment of infertility.
There are several significant changes that have occurred. The technology and procedures used in in-vitro fertilization are continually being refined and are leading to gradually higher pregnancy rates each cycle. Also, women today are attempting pregnancy at older ages, a time when they are less biologically fertile. This trend in delaying childbearing may be secondary to the pursuit of higher education and advanced careers or may be due to people getting married later. The improvements in contraception have given women the ability to control when they want to have children and the ability to push pregnancy to a later time in life. The media also plays a significant role in the increased public awareness of infertility. Any scientific advances in the field or interesting and unusual birth outcomes make national and international news.
Our practice sees and treats virtually every condition related to infertility and notably, the most frustrating diagnosis for patients to deal with, unexplained infertility. Unexplained infertility is essentially the default diagnosis when everything in the infertility evaluation comes back normal.
Additional common diagnoses that we see in patients include:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Some other conditions that our physicians see and treat are uterine abnormalities, genetic conditions, hormonal abnormalities, and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Understandably, some people have a difficult time comprehending why they are not getting pregnant when everything is “normal”, and this can lead to more stress. In some patients with unexplained infertility, the explanation may lie in a combination of subtle factors leading to the infertility, or it may be a result of fertilization or embryo development issues. Fortunately, the success rates are high with available treatments for couples with unexplained infertility.