FACT SHEET: Infertility

Infertility affects 6.1 million American women and their partners, about 10% of the reproductive age population.

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that affects the male or female with almost equal frequency.

Recent improvements in medication, microsurgery, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques make pregnancy possible for more than half of the couples pursuing treatments.

25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility.

In approximately 40% of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility.

Tubal blockage and/or peritoneal factors account for approximately 35% of all female infertility problems.

Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25% of all female infertility cases.

Endometriosis is found in about 35% of infertile women who have laparoscopy as part of their infertility work-up.

Approximately 20% of couples who have a complete work-up are diagnosed with unexplained infertility because no specific cause is identified.

IVF is a method of assisted reproduction in which a man's sperm and the woman's egg are combined in a laboratory dish, where fertilization occurs. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus to develop naturally. Usually, two to four embryos are transferred with each cycle.

Other techniques of assisted reproduction include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), IVF with donor eggs, donor sperm, and donor embryos, and micromanipulation of eggs and embryos.

There are more than 70,000 babies born in the United States as a result of all assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including 45,000 as a result of IVF.

According to the most recent statistics (1995), the success rate of ART procedures are as follows:

  • IVF - 22.3% live birth per egg retrieval
  • GIFT - 26.8% live birth per egg retrieval
  • ZIFT - 27.7% live birth per egg retrieval


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