Infertility awareness week
Demographics and Causes of Infertility
In Canada, 1 in 6 couples are affected by infertility
The prevalence of infertility has increased. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates continue to decline and hit 30-years low. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s total birth rate has been falling since 2009, from 1.68 children per woman to 1.54 in 2016, the lowest level recorded since 2003. The average age of mothers at first birth is 29.2 years and continue to rise steadily since the mid-1960s.
Fertility in both men and women decline with age however the decline is steeper in women:
Emotional Impact of Infertility
VeryWell Family notes that …
“If you're having a hard time coping with infertility, you are not alone. Research has shown that the psychological stress experienced by those with infertility is similar to that of people coping with illnesses such as cancer, HIV, and chronic pain.
In addition, studies have found that men are at risk for anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and decreased self-esteem. These psychological effects may occur regardless of whether a couple is facing male infertility, female factor infertility, or unexplained causes.
The emotions associated with infertility come from both inside and out. Social expectations and strain on your relationship and finances may all play a role in the many feelings you have while experiencing infertility.
In many communities, the demand to have children is instilled at a very early age. Often there is a sense of urgency from those who will remind you that the "clock is ticking."
When faced with this sort of emotional stress, it is important to separate the feelings and expectations that have been thrust upon you from those you have thrust upon yourself. Unfortunately, one often plays to the next. For example, you may compare yourself with peers who have had kids. This may fuel feelings of self-doubt and anxiety.
Some couples are brought closer together when they face infertility. Others find themselves drifting apart. Marital distress is common with infertility and may lead to the unreasonable perception that everything will be right if there is a child, and everything will be wrong if there is not.
The relationship may be further strained by the actual process of trying to conceive. Scheduling sex for ovulation can make intimacy feel chore-like. Studies have found timing sexual intercourse to conceive may lead to problems with sexual performance and a decrease in overall sexual satisfaction.
If fertility treatments are involved, the expenses can further punctuate the sense of failure a person may be experiencing, especially if the costs are putting the couple into financial straits. Treatment costs range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars and trying to pay those bills—or attempting to decide whether to go into debt for them—can lead to stress.”
Click here for the reference.
In the Butterfly Run’s March 2022 blog, I spoke a bit about my own painful journey with infertility. After having gone through seemingly endless tests and procedures, my husband and I received a somewhat common but incredibly frustrating diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’. In a 2019 article on this topic, Edmonton couple Linda Hoang and her partner Mike Brown describe their own difficult journey with ‘unexplained infertility’:
“It sounds terrible, but it’s like, ‘If there was something wrong with me, or if it was something wrong with you, or if it was something wrong with that body part,’ at least we would know and can do something about it.” – Linda Hoang
Click here for the reference.
You are not alone …
If you are struggling with infertility, please know that you are not alone. There are so many resources available (a few to get you started are listed below).
In sharing our stories and pain, we support and lift each other.