10 Things You Need To Know About Infertility During Infertility Awareness Week


Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex for heterosexual couples. With this said, many physicians recommend that women over the age of 35 seek specialized fertility care after six months of unprotected sex in heterosexual partnerships.


Infertility is not uncommon. In the U.S., one in five (19%) women experience infertility. These numbers don’t take into account same sex couples, making the number of people struggling to become parents significantly larger than the statistics indicate.


Infertility isn’t just a woman’s problem – around 30% of infertility cases are due to male-factor infertility, 30% are due to female-related factors, and 30% are labeled “unknown” origin.


It’s not just heterosexual couples that struggle with infertility. Same sex couples also struggle with fertility treatments, and often have a difficult and complex journey to becoming parents. Same sex couples often don’t qualify for insurance coverage for fertility treatments due to lack of a medical fertility-related diagnosis. Only seven states in the U.S. mandate that insurance companies provide fertility coverage for same sex couples.


Fertility struggles often cause significant mental health impact to those experiencing them. As many as 21-52% of women struggling with infertility experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies show that women experiencing infertility report feeling as depressed and anxious as women going through treatment for cancer. These symptoms can be exacerbated by the treatments themselves, the impact of the hormonal medications, and the stress of procedures.


Struggles with infertility can cause significant problems in romantic partnerships. Research tells us that couples going through infertility report lower sexual satisfaction in their partnerships as well as lower relationship satisfaction overall. One study reported that after failed infertility treatments, partnerships were three times more likely to end in divorce or separation.


Infertility is associated with high levels of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem for those experiencing it. This can often result in isolating oneself, not seeking support, and not talking about their experiences openly.


Infertility can cause significant financial strain. A single IVF cycle can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 dollars, and often couples might require multiple cycles to achieve one viable pregnancy.


Black women experiencing infertility face additional challenges. Black women are less likely to have insurance that covers infertility treatments, and face systemic racism within the medical system. There is also a significant shortage of black sperm and egg donors. For these reasons and more, Black women are less likely than white women to seek specialized fertility treatments.


Finding the right support can make all the difference in the world for someone going through infertility. Seeking a specialized support group or a therapist trained in infertility and perinatal mental health can help lighten the load of infertility. Reach out to us to learn about how we can help with this!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 26). Infertility. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chin, H. B., Howards, P. P., Kramer, M. R., Mertens, A. C., & Spencer, J. B. (2015, September). Racial Disparities in Seeking Care for Help Getting Pregnant. Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

Domar, A., Zuttermeister, P., & Friedman, R. (n.d.). The psychological impact of infertility: A comparison with patients with other medical conditions. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Few States Cover Fertility Treatment for Same-sex Couples, But That Could Be Changing. RESOLVE. (2024, April 1).

Hirsch, A., & Hirsch, S. (n.d.). The Effect of Infertility on Marriage and Self‐concept. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.

Kjaer. , T., et al. (2014, March). Divorce or End of Cohabitation Among Danish Women Evaluated for Fertility Problems. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica.

Lewis, R. (2022, April 27). How to Care For Mental Health During Infertility. Healthline.

Lin, J., & Susser, L. (2022, July 27). Recognizing the Psychological Toll of Infertility in Women. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). How common is male infertility, and what are its causes? Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.