How many times have you heard that a couple has split up, reportedly because of the stresses and strains of undergoing fertility treatment? The prospect of having fertility treatment can be daunting enough without this possible threat to your relationship. However, it now seems as if the connection between the disappointment of infertility and the stress created by treatment will not increase the risk of divorce.
This is likely to be good news for any couples who are thinking about having IVF treatment and who are worried about the effect on their relationship. The study was based on registry data of women receiving reproductive treatment in Denmark. It is based on women who had either been married or cohabiting for two years beforehand. This group was matched with a control group.
During the 16 years afterward, most of the couples had children with their original partners and around one fifth had divorced or separated. It initially looked as if couples who conceived naturally were at lower risk of divorcing. But when other factors were taken into consideration such as subsequent children, partner’s age, education, and partnership status, then no difference was found between the two groups.
Researchers, however, did point out that the results of the study are not compatible. Considering what is already known about the stress that can be caused by treatment for infertility. Despite this, going to treatment can actually benefit some couple’s relationships. This is because it forces them to introduce coping strategies and to improve their communication.
Researchers believe that providing couples with information can help them cope with the treatments. They will give them information about what to expect and how to manage these expectations about success rates can make treatment easier to cope with.
How Common Are Fertility Problems?
Women are often given excellent information on how to avoid pregnancy. The reality is that many will find it harder than they expect to get pregnant. You are considered to have infertility problems if you have been trying for a year to get pregnant. This affects one in six couples and another factor that is often overlooked is that men and women are frequently equally affected.
Some 30% of men and 30% women will have factors that affect their ability to have a child. The remaining 40% is often considered to be unexplained or maybe due to a combination of different problems.
What Are the Main Causes of Infertility in Women?
One of the most common reasons is due to irregular menstrual cycles. If periods are absent or infrequent or are prolonged, it can make it tricky to predict ovulation. Other factors that play a part include a women’s weight and whether she smokes. Smoking affects fertility due to its effect on ovulation. Additionally, women who smoke are at higher risk of having a miscarriage. However, experts largely believe that one of the biggest factors is age.
From age 30 to 40 and for every two years after that, a woman’s ability to get pregnant declines by 50%. After the age of 44 very few women can get pregnant naturally using their own eggs. The reason why age is such a large factor is that the number of available eggs falls dramatically with age. And so does the chance of each egg being chromosomally normal.
Before women are born they have 7 million eggs which fall to between one and 2 million at birth. At the time they hit puberty, this figure has fallen to 600,000 and each month another 500 eggs are wasted. Often the eggs that are produced are not good. By the age of 40, 97% of the eggs available at puberty have gone.
What Are the Main Causes of Infertility in Men?
In comparison, men are continually making fresh sperm every 90 days ensuring these cells remain healthy and young even when a man is older. Although male fertility does decline with age, it’s much less of a factor than with women. The most common cause of male infertility is due to blockages in the reproductive organs that may occur naturally.
It can also be due to a man having a vasectomy, or there may be problems with the way sperm is created or hormonal imbalances might be to blame. Sometimes fertility problems are due to physical reasons such as injury or radiation and chemotherapy. Diabetes is another factor that can cause vascular damage resulting in reduced blood flow making erectile dysfunction an issue.
Couples facing fertility problems will need to consult their family physician and it is worth women having a full checkup with their gynecologist.