Fertility Fact vs. Fiction: Women Recognizing Age as a Major Obstacle
New Survey Reports 88% First Sought Medical Help Before Age 35
RED BANK, N.J., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the recent baby boom amongst Hollywood actresses who are age 40+, a new survey released today by HealthyWomen (HW) suggests that women are becoming more cognizant that their biological clocks are ticking and as a result, are seeking fertility treatment sooner. In fact, 88 percent of women surveyed were under the age of 35 when they first sought medical advice about their fertility.
As good as you may look on the outside (plastic surgery and Botox aside), the medical reality is that your eggs are as old as you are. The incidence of infertility now affects an estimated 12 percent of couples of reproductive age. In fact, a healthy 30-year-old woman has about a 20 percent chance per month of becoming pregnant, and that chance falls to only about 5 percent per month for a 40-year-old woman.(1)
However, given that 76 percent of women reported that it was important to them to have a biological child, it may be wise for them to start thinking about their fertility even earlier. One study reported that a healthy woman age 19-26 has only a 50 percent chance of conceiving following intercourse on her most fertile day of the month and that probability falls to 40 percent for women ages 27-34 and 30 percent for women ages 35-39.(2)
"Unfortunately, conception is not always an easy process, which is why our organization is working to provide women and their partners with the information they need to make informed and healthy decisions when it comes to having a baby," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of HealthyWomen.
Knowledge about Incidence and Risk Factors is Lacking
Among all women responding to the survey, 50 percent believed that fertility problems are equally as likely to be attributed to women as men and just 5 percent believed men are more likely to be infertile. In reality, women and men bear nearly equal responsibility with infertility with it being attributable to a female problem in 40 percent of cases, a male problem in 40 percent of cases, and a combined problem of the couple or unexplained in 20 percent of cases.(3)
Women Find Fertility Treatments Highly Stressful but Worthwhile
Although women who have had fertility treatment faced a variety of physical, emotional and financial challenges, overall they tend to view the experience positively, and would recommend that others in similar situations try fertility treatment.
Of women who underwent fertility treatments: 88 percent of women found it emotionally challenging; 84 percent found it stressful; and 60 percent reported a negative impact on their self-esteem. Yet, 79 percent of women who underwent fertility treatments reported they felt hopeful; more than three-quarters (76 percent) reported their partners were supportive; and 33 percent reported the fertility treatments had a positive impact on their relationship
HealthyWomen strives to provide women and men with the most up to date information and resources on fertility issues and treatment. To find tip sheets on emotional support during treatment and how to determine the best plan for you and your partner if you are experiencing fertility issues, log on to the Pregnancy and Parenting center at www.HealthyWomen.org. Or for further highlights of this year's and previous Women TALK surveys, visit the HealthyWomen online newsroom at www.HealthyWomen.org/newsroom.
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