Infertility Today: Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2017
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Photo: RMANJ

Advance in your career, meet the perfect person, start a family. It’s the ideal path for many millennials, but the family part isn’t as inevitable as they’d like to think.

That’s the intended takeaway from the Reproductive Medical Associates of New Jersey’s (RMANJ) Infertility in America 2015 report. While 91 percent of couples trying to have a baby are confident they’ll be successful (and 95 percent count on successfully trying within five years), statistics say healthy 30-year-old women only have a 20 percent chance of conceiving naturally each month.

Where does this discrepancy come from? There’s a lack of conversation, for starters. Women often don’t want to think about their chances of having a baby until they’re ready to have a baby. And OB-GYNs typically don’t bring it up at appointments.

“Women over the age of 30 should ask their ob-gyn to perform a simple blood test that measures the levels of the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) in their system,” says the RMANJ report. “The presence (or lack of) this hormone helps determine the viability of a woman’s egg reserve before visiting a fertility specialist. Unfortunately, many women don’t know about this until it is too late for them to start exploring fertility treatment options.” And according to the survey, most women plan to start a family in their thirties. So once you do start trying, how do you decide when it’s time to go for help? RMANJ says that in general, “if a woman is under the age of 35 and unable to achieve pregnancy or stay pregnant after 12 months of trying, or is 35 and over and actively trying for six months without conceiving, she should reach out to a fertility specialist.” This can be a hard pill to swallow. Why reach out to a specialist when it seems more and more women are getting pregnant in their 40s, 50s and even 60s? Researchers found that 64 percent of young adults felt the advancements in science that are helping older women get pregnant mean they don’t have to worry about infertility. Here’s your gentle reminder to be proactive: “While science has made great strides, there is no better advice than to start gathering information early and to be informed on your fertility and on specialists who can help.”

Photo: RMANJ
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