Infertility: A secretive disease

Eighty-eight percent of the population can have children with little effort, but the remaining 12 percent may struggle for years with infertility issues and may never achieve the success and joy of parenthood via natural pregnancy.

by Kelly K. Damron — 

There is a drive in our genetic code to procreate. Eighty-eight percent of the population can have children with little effort, but the remaining 12 percent may struggle for years with infertility issues and may never achieve the success and joy of parenthood via natural pregnancy.

What is infertility? It is described as a couple’s inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected intercourse. There are different forms of infertility: female factor, male factor and unexplained.

Female factor infertility can be the most difficult to treat. Some causes include endometriosis, ovulation disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Male factor, occurring in about 40 percent of all infertile couples, is generally successfully treated with a medical procedure called in vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF. Unexplained infertility occurs in about 20 percent of all cases.

Many of the causes of infertility are true medical disorders. For example, endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system. In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are two medical organizations that recognize infertility as a disease (www.resolve.org). Yet only 15 states offer mandated insurance coverage for treatment options. So infertility may become not only an emotional challenge, but a financial burden as well.

Both women and men can be secretive about their infertile condition. Some women are ashamed that they cannot become pregnant, while men are often embarrassed that they cannot produce enough sperm to impregnate their wives. Some couples are slow to seek emotional support or tell friends and family about their condition because they are self-conscious of their disease.

Infertility can send a woman, or a man, into a state of depression. The desire to become a parent can impact your marriage, friendships, family relations and even your job performance. It is important for a couple dealing with infertility to learn about their condition and their treatment options. Support groups are a good way for women to connect with others who understand their emotional grief. Visit www.southwest.resolve.org for more information about infertility, coping mechanisms and local events.

 

Kelly K. Damron is the author of Tiny Toes: A Couple’s Journey Through Infertility, Prematurity, and Depression. 480-705-0803, www.tinytoesbook.com or www.twinpeas.com/wordpress.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 3, June/July 2008.

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