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One in six couples of childbearing age in Canada have fertility challenges: government

Last Updated Apr 22, 2019 at 11:32 am PST


One in six Canadian couples of childbearing age experience fertility challenges: government

Feds say number of childbearing-age couples in Canada who experience fertility challenges has doubled since the 1980s

Expert encourages couples to educate themselves on reproductive health, family planning if they're looking to conceive

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’re struggling to get pregnant, you’re not alone.

It’s Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, and one in six couples in our country who are of childbearing age go through challenges.

According to the federal government, that number has doubled since the 1980s. As part of the week, the government hopes to bring attention to what it says are the “far-reaching impacts of infertility,” as well as “encourage people to educate themselves on reproductive health and family planning.”

Infertility is considered to be 12 months of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant.

In many cases, a consultation may be recommended after a year of trying to get pregnant for women under 35 years of age. Fertility consultation may be recommended earlier — at six months — for women who are over 35.

“We do want to look at older patients sooner, we don’t want them to be trying for a year over 40 because a lot changes in terms of treatment outcome in that time,” Dr. Niamh Tallon, a reproductive and fertility specialist says. “So we ask patients to be seen with within three to six months over the age of 40.”

While fertility challenges are often considered to be a problem affecting women, the federal government notes that men are “almost just as likely as women to experience fertility challenges.”

“We are looking at both male and female issues,” Tallon notes. “Thirty to 40 per cent of the time, it will be a male that has an issue, so we have to do a semen analysis in that situation. For a woman, we need to make sure she’s ovulating, having a regular cycle, her Fallopian tubes are open, and a normal uterus to house a pregnancy.”

She says there are more and more cases of unexplained infertility, something she says includes “an aspect of age,” as well.

In cases where all the tests come back “normal,” Tallon says a specialist may recommend fertility boosting alternatives.

It’s not something many people would know about until they actually start to try to have children, and that is a point Tallon is emphasizing.

“We’re seeing a huge trend and women wanting to know more about their own reproductive capabilities,” she explains. “Within there we really stress, ‘Look, we really don’t know, you may have all the pieces to attain a pregnancy, but until you really try we don’t know whether or not you’ll have success.'”

-With files from Breakfast Television