Fertility & Infertility

There are many myths surrounding fertility and infertility. We want to clarify those for you, so that you have a clear perspective on what it means to experience fertility challenges.

What Does Infertile Mean?
Infertility is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It could be argued that the inability to successfully carry a pregnancy should be included in the definition. It is important to remember that you are not alone. 1 in 5 Irish couples experience difficulties conceiving. Infertility doesn’t mean that a baby cannot be conceived. It simply means that there are challenges to be overcome.

Primary Infertility
Primary infertility refers to couples that have not become pregnant after at least one year of having regular, unprotected sex.

Secondary Infertility
Secondary infertility refers to couples that have been able to get pregnant at least once, but are experiencing delays in getting pregnant a second time.

Is Infertility A Male Or Female Issue?
Infertility is weighted equally between men and women. In other words, there is a 40% chance of it being a male and 40% chance of it being a female problem. The remaining 20% is considered to be unexplained infertility – it may be a combination of male and female issues that lead to problems getting pregnant. To achieve a successful pregnancy, there are several prerequisites: good quality eggs and sperm, an open fallopian tube and a receptive lining of the uterus. A problem with any of these factors will reduce fertility and may cause infertility.

  • It is recommended that if you under 35, then you should get help if you haven’t conceived within one year.
  • If you are 35 or over, you should get help, if you haven’t conceived within six months.

Is Age An Issue When It Comes To Getting Pregnant?
The number one factor affecting a couple’s chance of conceiving is the woman’s age. The normal expected chance of conception in a 25-year-old couple is approximately 20% in any one month – this chance decreases with age. After a woman’s age, male related fertility problems are the second most common cause of a couple’s infertility.

Causes Of Infertility Include:

  • Male (sperm) factor
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Tubal disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Anatomical factors such as fibroids and other uterine abnormalities
  • Factors such as antibodies to sperm may also reduce the ability to conceive
  • Combination of male and female factors
  • In some couples no cause for infertility can be found. This is called unexplained infertility.