Survey Says: Marriage Delays Not Increasing Infertility

I’ve read the USA Today article over and over again and I still have hard time with the conclusions being drawn.

The headline seems almost reproductively irresponsible:

Infertility data show no rise, despite marriage delays.

Thank God at least Barbara Collura jumps in and laments how long people are waiting to seek treatment.

The headline is troubling, because in an age where few people will read full context, somebody casually thinking they have ‘plenty of time to have kids’ may use this article as a basis for that rationale.

And then all of the sudden their baby making pursuits graduate from what might have been a $1500 IUI to a $15,000 IVF from day one.

I am always suspicious of the conclusions drawn from ‘surveys’.

I know from experience how much denial there is with infertility (I honestly thought 1 million sperm count was plenty to get Lisa pregnant without any fertility assistance).

So to think that the ‘data’ shows a percentage of married women ages 15-44 fell nearly 3% in a four year period has all the hallmarks of ‘bullshitting the surveyor’.

Beyond that, there is a very important point made in the article that doesn’t get the proper attention it deserves.

“The level of infertility is being counteracted by their pursuit of medical help to have a child.  Both together are bringing down the percentage we see as infertile when we do our survey”

This quote by the lead author Anjani Chandra, seems to suggest that it is perhaps more awareness of infertility that is bringing down the percentage they SEE as infertile when they do their survey.

Their definition is ‘lack of pregnancy in the 12 months prior to the survey, despite having had unprotected sexual intercourse in each of those months with the same husband or partner.”

With all of the infertility awareness campaigns going on year round now, I suspect women who are in the late twenties when they get married are simply educating themselves very quickly about their fertility, or perhaps have friends who went through who told them “get yourself checked right away.”

I know Lisa and I are a walking talking ad campaign for couples to get a full reproductive check up and not waste the 12 months to meet the official medical definition of being infertile.

It almost seems archaic to even use that as a standard with all of the reproductive medical technology that is available now.

Just because marriage delays aren’t increasing infertility doesn’t mean that someone wanting to have a child heading into their thirties should put off a visit to an RE the minute they decide they want to try to have a child.

Hopefully anyone reading this article who is in their late twenties will realize that it is the early pursuit of medical help to have a child that may very well be driving down the overall rates of infertility.

With the median age increasing to nearly 27 for women and 29 for men, that first big success rate drop off at 34 is not too far away.

Lisa beat that cliff 1 month shy of 34 in our infertility journey.

I’d strongly suggest other couples not cut it that close!




3 Responses to Survey Says: Marriage Delays Not Increasing Infertility

  1. I know you didn’t mean to do it, but this post just down right depresses me.

    What if you are a couple who “cut it to close” due to no fault of your own? What if you did not cut it close, but you just did not get married “in time” through no fault of your own? One of the statements in this post assumes that all of us put off marriage willingly, or that we got married earlier when in point of fact, many of us would have gotten married much sooner if we could have. What can we say to these couples?

    I did not get married until I was 28, and that wasn’t because I did not want to, it is because I had not yet found the right person. I would have got married much sooner had the right woman come along. My fertility situation was out of my hands. I wanted to get married ever since I was 22 but I just couldn’t do it through no fault of my own.

    After my marriage we had troubles. My wife had been diagnosed with Epilepsy. That took a couple of years to sort through. You couple that with all the job losses and economic uncertainty we incurred, and we ended up putting off trying to have kids until we were married six years. Part of our reason for putting off kids was because we wanted to be more financially secure. Part of us was not emotionally ready. Perhaps we should have had more faith and started trying sooner, maybe we worried to much about our finances. Our employment situation is still not what it should be (that’s another story!). Nevertheless, we are trying to have children!! I cannot imagine my life without any kids.

    How was I to know that I would be infertile? How was I to know the biological clock was ticking? When you are single or first married, you do not think about these things. Plenty of people have had children in their 40s and do just fine, we know a couple that did and the child is perfectly healthy! To tell me the odds are against us devastates me. It does not give me hope. It makes me very sad, especially in light of the fact that my infertility situation is much worse than many men and is a rarer form of azoospermia.

    I am sorry if I have come across harsh or mean. Please forgive me. It’s just that this is a sensitive issue for me and maybe I am just too sensitive. I am not angry. It’s just that this post made me sad and I needed to vent a little.

    • Jason,

      No need to apologize. I had hoped that I made the final point that is is taking swift action once you do know and not being in denial about your condition that seems to move people along quicker to a place of decision.

      That is obviously not you–you are taking on your diagnosis with a brave heart and fierce determination. But with that acceptance comes grieving–and that’s where you are.

      I grieved not being able to get Lisa pregnant in a moment of magical love making.

      I was depressed about that–to the point where a few years later, I considered ending my life.

      How selfish is that!??

      And I don’t believe you can be too sensitive. I won’t give you any platitudes to tell you it will be all right. Like, you, I have a strong faith in God and couldn’t understand why I had such a low count. I was angry with Him. But a priest told another infertile couple we knew who expressed their anger toward God ‘That’s okay. God can take it.”

      Be as harsh and mean as you need to be here, Jason. Don’t deny yourself of expressing the frustration, anger, or sensitivity when it hits you. That’s what this support forum is here for.

      I am sorry that this depressed you though. I hope that God will help you find peace with everything you are going through right now.

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