23-29 September 2019

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Facts about infertility

• A couple is regarded as having a fertility issue when they have not conceived after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse


• Infertility will affect up to a quarter of New Zealanders at some stage of their life.


• Infertility is not just a female problem – in about 40% of infertile couples the issue is a female factor, in about 40% it is a male issue and for the remaining 20% there are joint factors, or the cause is unknown.


• There are many causes of infertility; common diagnoses include poor sperm quality, ovulation disorders, endometriosis and hormonal imbalances – to name a few.


• Fertility declines with age for both women and men, although the effects are more dramatic and earlier for women.


• Treatments for fertility issues are many and varied. Some common treatments include medications to improve the production of eggs, surgery on the fallopian tubes to fix blockages, insemination of the woman with either the

partner’s sperm or with donor sperm, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or IVF with intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


• Though success rates vary, there is no guarantee of success; in fact, a single cycle of IVF treatment

has on average a 50% likelihood of resulting in a pregnancy. As with most medical interventions, there are some health risks associated with treatments. Some people try natural treatments such as acupuncture and naturopathic treatments.


• Some people choose not to seek treatment; infertility treatment is emotionally draining, and although some publicly funded treatment is available in New Zealand, specific eligibility criteria must be met, and there may be a wait to access treatment.


• Some people create a family through adoption, while others will remain without children.