Myth: Infertility is the same thing as sterility, and it’s rather rare.
Fact: Sterility is the complete inability to reproduce; infertility is “subfertility,” or impaired fertility.
A sterile person cannot reproduce; about 65 percent of those who seek treatment for infertility will eventually go on to have a baby.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that infertility affects more than 80 million people worldwide.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) estimates that infertility affects 6.1 million American women and their partners, which adds up to about 12.9 percent of married couples of reproductive age.
Myth: At least infertile couples are “having fun trying.”
Fact: In a study of more than 2,000 Christian women, “lengthy infertility treatment” was listed as one of the four key causes of sexual aversion. (The other three were childhood sex abuse, rape, and painful labor and delivery.)
Most couples report a decrease in the frequency of sexual relations after a diagnosis of infertility.
What was once a source of emotional intimacy often becomes “love by the calendar,” and infertile couples say they feel a loss of privacy, sometimes even envisioning a doctor in the room during sexual intimacy.
Both male and female infertility patients report a decrease in their level of sexual satisfaction, with the women also reporting that they feel less comfortable with their sexuality.
More than one infertility counselor has told us, “I’ve never seen a couple going through fertility treatments who felt they had a great sex life.”
Myth: Infertility is mostly a woman’s problem.
Fact: A survey conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) found that more than two-thirds of people interviewed thought infertility was associated with a woman’s fallopian tubes.
A similar number of the 1,300 men and women interviewed did not realize that half of all infertility cases are caused by male problems.