Infertility Facts

  • What is infertility?
    • Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying for women under 35 or after six months for women over 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth (recurrent pregnancy loss).
  • How many people suffer from infertility?
    • 1 in 8 couples in the United States suffer from infertility (2015-2017 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
  • What causes infertility?
    • About a third of infertility is attributed to the male partner, a third to the female partner, and third is attributed to factors in both partners or is diagnosed as “unexplained infertility.” Though many people think of infertility as a women’s problem men too are affected.
  • How can infertility be treated?
    • Many different treatment options exist, including drug therapy, surgical procedures, and reproductive technologies such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Consult with a Reproductive Endocrinologist or Reproductive Immunologist for the best results.
  • What is recurrent pregnancy loss?
    • Approximately 20% of all pregnancies will end in a miscarriage due to a non-recurrent cause. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recurrent pregnancy loss is the loss of two or more consecutive pregnancies. A pregnancy loss is defined as a clinically recognized pregnancy ending before 20 weeks gestation.
  • What are the causes of recurrent pregnancy loss?
    • Some of the causes for recurrent pregnancy loss include chromosomal abnormalities, blood clotting disorders, autoimmune disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, untreated infections including chlamydia and gonorrhea, advanced maternal or paternal age, as well as unexplained factors.
  • How can recurrent pregnancy loss be treated?
    • Many different treatment options exist, including drug therapy, immunotherapy, surgical procedures, and reproductive technologies including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Consult with a Reproductive Endocrinologist or Reproductive Immunologist for the best results.
  • What are the chances of success of IVF treatments?
    • According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), IVF, the treatment with the highest chances of success, has the following live birth rates:
Age of Woman <35 35-37 38-40 41-42 >42
% of cycles resulting in live births 40.1% 31.4% 21.2% 11.2% 4.5%
  • How much do fertility treatments cost?
    • The national average for an IUI is $3000. The national average for a fresh IVF cycle is $12,400 (ASRM), plus another $3,000-5,000 on medication (RESOLVE). Additional technologies, such as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which increase the chance of success of an IVF cycle, cost between $3,000-6,000.
  • How much of those costs does insurance cover?
    • Most reproductive technologies are not covered by insurance and must be paid “out-of-pocket.” Only fifteen states have either an insurance mandate to offer fertility coverage to employers or an insurance mandate to cover some level of infertility treatment. Even with insurance, many companies only cover some elements of a given reproductive treatment. Only eight of those fifteen states have an insurance mandate that requires qualified employers to include some form of fertility coverage in their plans offered to their employees: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. (ASRM- more information available here.)
  • What is the emotional impact of infertility?
    • According to a study conducted at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston (Domar, A.D., Zuttermeister, P.C., & Friedman, R., 1993) patients with an infertility diagnosis suffered from depression and anxiety on levels equivalent to those with life threatening illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and hypertension.
  • How does infertility impact one’s mental health?
    • An infertility diagnosis can create a significantly distressing life crises, especially as a member of a Jewish community where others are building and expanding their families and most rituals revolve around family and children. The inability to conceive and the loss of potential create significant feelings of loss, similar to the loss of pregnancy. Additionally, dealing (usually alone) with multiple medical decisions, lengthy waiting periods, uncertainties, and the loss of control, leads high levels of emotional distress and turmoil for many individuals and couples.
  • What is egg freezing?
    • Egg freezing is the process of stimulating egg production (as done in the first phase of an IVF cycle) for retrieval and storage as a form of fertility preservation for future use in an IVF cycle. According to FertilityIQ it is estimated that this year 10,000 women in the US will freeze their eggs.
  • Is egg freezing a guarantee for achieving future pregnancy?
    • According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) egg freezing is not a guarantee for achieving future pregnancy. The chance that one frozen egg will yield a baby in the future is around 2-12%. Therefore, when considering egg freezing it is important to consult with a doctor to ensure that enough eggs are retrieved and frozen for future use.
  • What is the difference in achieving pregnancy with frozen eggs vs. embryos?
    • According to the ASRM, based on a comparison of IVF cycles using frozen eggs with IVF cycles using frozen embryos, the chances of achieving live birth ranged from 4-14% per egg frozen and 35-61% per embryo frozen.
  • How much does an egg freezing cycle cost?
    • The cost of an average egg freezing cycle with medication is approximately $16,000. The average clinic cost is $11,000 plus on average $5,000 for medication. Additionally, there are annual storage fees to keep eggs frozen and this on average costs $3000 a year, varying by clinic and state. (There are some third-party storage facilities and some are less expensive- though there are costs to transport the oocytes from the clinic to the facility and then again back to the clinic when ready for use.) Like other fertility treatments most insurance companies do not yet cover the costs.

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