eight women experience infertility
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[July 09, 2016]
By Kathryn Doyle
One in eight women and one in 10 men in the U.K. have experienced
infertility, struggling to get pregnant for at least a year, and almost
half do not seek help for the problem, according to a new study.
“Our finding of inequalities in help seeking between those who are
better educated and in higher status jobs is (perhaps) not
surprising given evidence of unequal distribution of wealth and
power and the associated differential access to health care,” said
lead author Jessica Datta of the London School of Hygiene and
The researchers used data on about 15,000 adult men and women up to
age 74 who participated in Britain's third National Survey of Sexual
Attitudes and Lifestyles between 2010 and 2012.
Almost 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men said they had
experienced a period of infertility at some point. This was reported
more often by those who were married or cohabitating at the time of
the study, likely because these couples were more likely to have
attempted pregnancy and discovered a fertility issue, the authors
“We don’t know why the period of infertility occurred” or whether
these people were ever able to conceive or become parents, Datta
told Reuters Health by email.
Those who had children after age 35 were more likely to report a
period of infertility than those who had children before age 25.
For those who experienced infertility, 57 percent of women and 53
percent of men said they had sought help at some point.
Those with higher education levels and who had become parents at
older ages were more likely than others to have sought help, the
researchers reported in Human Reproduction.
“According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
(NICE), in the U.K., 25 percent of infertility is unexplained,
45percent results from ovulatory disorders or tubal damage, 30
percent from factors in the male and 10 percent from uterine or
peritoneal disorders,” Datta said.
But most people need not be concerned, she said.
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“It is generally accepted that over 80 percent of couples in the
general population will conceive within one year if the woman is
aged under 40 years and they do not use contraception and have
regular sexual intercourse,” said professor Ann Berrington of the
University of Southampton, who was not part of the new research.
“Of those who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do
so in the second year,” for a cumulative pregnancy rate over 90
percent, she said.
Individual ability to conceive varies widely, and people wanting to
conceive should be aware of factors, like heavy smoking and being
significantly overweight or underweight, that can affect the chances
of conception, Berrington told Reuters Health by email.
“Although there is a lot of scaremongering about the risk to older
mothers of infertility and the potential for poor health outcomes
for mother and baby, the majority of women under 40 do not
experience fertility or health problems,” Datta said.
The same patterns would likely be found in the U.S. and other
developed countries, she said.
Everyone should consult with their general practitioner if they have
fertility concerns, Datta said.
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/29wvQAV Human Reproduction, online June 30,
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