Infertility doesn’t discriminate; it affects people regardless of race, sexuality or economic status. Anyone can be challenged to have a family.
Founded in 1989 by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, National Infertility Awareness Week calls attention to this important public health issue. With the theme “Infertility Uncovered,” the observance will be held April 21-27 and will highlight the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way for so many people who want to build a family of their own.
What Is Infertility?
The term infertility implies“not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older)”. Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Who Is Affected By Infertility?
Currently, about 7.3 million Americans are facing infertility. Let’s look at some of the specifics:
- 1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
- 4 million women, or 11.9% of women, have ever received any infertility services in their lifetime. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
- Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. (asrm.org)
- A couple ages 29-33 with a normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month (National Women’s Health Resource Center). After six months of trying, 60% of couples will conceive without medical assistance. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
What Are The Medical Causes For Infertility?
There are many medical conditions that can be the underlying cause of infertility for both men and women. An OB/GYN can diagnose some of these conditions, while others may require the expertise of a specialist such as an endocrinologist or urologist. Some of the causes of infertility include:
- Luteal Phase Defect
- Male Factor
- Multiple Miscarriages
- Ovulatory Disorders
- Poor Responder
- Premature Ovarian Failure
- Secondary Infertility
- Unexplained Infertility
- Uterine Disorders
Does Insurance Cover Infertility Treatment?
Since the 1980s, 15 states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia—have passed laws that require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment.
In those 15 states, the mandated coverage varies quite a bit from one state to another. Some do not cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) or medications, some have specific diagnosis requirements or lifetime benefit maximums, others only require coverage on large group plans, and/or HMOs, etc.
Eight of those states have an insurance mandate that requires qualified employers to include IVF coverage in their plans offered to their employees: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require coverage for infertility treatments. Those states with an infertility mandate that covers IVF may have chosen an Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plan that includes the IVF mandate.
Answering Your Questions About Infertility
In addition to consulting your OB/GYN, there are many reliable and helpful resources online. Here are two:
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is dedicated to ensuring that all people challenged in their family building journey reach resolution through being empowered by knowledge, supported by community, united by advocacy, and inspired to act.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office onWomen’s Health has a wealth of information available about infertility, including causes, risks and treatment.
The first step is to make an appointment with you doctor. Make an appointment today with our licensed, board-certified physicians today.