This is something that can affect both males and females who are sexually mature enough to father and mother a child. A couple are termed infertile after a year of unprotected sexual intercourse in which they have been unable to conceive. In primary infertility, pregnancy has never occurred. In secondary infertility, one or both members of the couple have previously conceived, but are unable to conceive again after a full year of trying.
The process of successful conception from sperm and egg production, all the way through the various stages of pregnancy is an intricate and complex chain of events involving numerous bodily and hormonal changes for mother, father and baby.
Fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK. The following figures are approximations:
- 84% of couples who have regular intercourse (every 2 to 3 days) and who do not use contraception will get pregnant within a year.
- About 92% of couples who are trying to get pregnant do so within 2 years.
- For women aged 35, about 94% who have regular unprotected sexual intercourse will get pregnant after 3 years of trying.
- For women aged 38 however, only 77% will do so.
It is believed that:
- In 30% of cases the male is the cause for infertility
- In 30 % of cases the female is the cause for infertility
- In 10% of all cases it is the male and female combined
- In 25% of all cases the cause is unknown
- Leaving 5% for other reasons