Infertility is increasingly a problem in our country. Yet the public isn’t aware of how widespread fertility issues truly are. An estimated 7-15% of the population suffers from sub-fertility. As more and more couples delay childbearing, that number may continue to rise. Well over five million children worldwide have been conceived with the help of medical interventions, and the number of babies born from parents who utilize assisted reproductive technologies is steadily growing. Up to four percent of all children born in the developed world were conceived by In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Several factors help explain the rise of couples who suffer from infertility or subfertility:
Social: This includes the increasing age of mothers who delay childbearing for various reasons, including pursuing higher educational degrees and/or advancing careers prior to motherhood. People are also marrying later, delaying settling down until they have had more life experiences.
Environmental: The planet is changing and there is more pollution and toxins, such as mercury in fish and lead in the environment, that are be poisonous to the gametes (reproductive cells) and growing embryo.
Dietary Changes: The food we consume may affect fertility outcomes. Processed and prepackaged foods that include few “real” ingredients and instead have filler chemicals, which may deprive the body of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential to maximize the quality of gametes and antioxidants.
Medical Illnesses: As the population grows statistically more obese, there are more instances of metabolic derangements, which occur when medical disorders happen together and cause cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Health issues including increasing insulin resistance and higher insulin levels lead women to present with higher testosterone levels, diabetes, hypertension, and ovulation malfunction. This means that fertility rates may also decline. Additionally, obesity may also be associated with a rise in inflammatory markers and these may affect the uterus and its ability to nourish the embryo. Finally, studies have suggested that obesity is associated with a rise in reactive oxygen species, which are linked to a change in hormone levels and a decrease in sperm quality.
Stress: Modern life is so busy. Gone are the lazy days of summer when friends sit around drinking lemonade in rocking chairs and enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Americans don’t take siestas. We race from home to work to gym to “de-stress,” then gobble down a meal, often at a drive through in a fast food restaurant, and then possibly off to a second job or night school for career advancement. We don’t unplug the cell phone, and that allows us to stay connected, 24-7. All of this often leads to fewer up close and personal interactions. Having a baby becomes a job in itself. Aspiring moms must check their temperatures, pee on ovulation sticks nightly and Google, Google, Google about infertility to stay up to date on the newest treatments. Altogether, stress can have major negative impacts on fertility.
If any of these factors describe your world and you are trying to get pregnant, then it may be time to consider making shifts in your lifestyle. Contact us today for guidance and help in increasing your chances in beating the infertility odds.