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Women Aren't Waiting to Seek Infertility Help

Majority of survey respondents were under 35 when they sought treatment

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Most American women know that age is an important factor in the success of fertility treatments, finds a new survey of 763 women, aged 18 and older, including 125 women who've had fertility treatment.

The HealthyWomen poll found that 88 percent of respondents were under age 35 when they first sought medical advice about their fertility.

The survey asked women about their views and priorities when it comes to having children, and their experiences when seeking medical help to treat fertility problems.

Fifty percent believed fertility problems are equally likely to be a female or male issue, while just 5 percent believed men are more likely to be infertile. In fact, infertility is a female problem in 40 percent of cases, a male problem in 40 percent of cases, and a combined or unexplained problem in 20 percent of cases, according to HealthyWomen.

The majority of women knew that risk factors for infertility in women include medical conditions affecting the reproductive system (83 percent), age (83 percent), complications from sexually transmitted diseases (80 percent) and ovulation problems (79 percent). But they were less aware of other factors.

"Many factors and conditions can affect a woman's ability to conceive naturally. Some of these include being overweight or underweight, and chronic health conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disorders, substance abuse, alcohol consumption and some medications," Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, executive director of HealthyWomen, said in a news release. "It is important that a woman work closely with her health care provider to determine the best plan for maintaining optimal health while trying to conceive a child while also assessing her partner's health and possible fertility issues."

Of the respondents who had fertility treatments, 88 percent found it emotionally challenging, 84 percent found it stressful, 60 percent reported a negative impact on their self-esteem, 79 percent said they felt hopeful, 76 percent said their partners were supportive and 33 percent said the fertility treatments had a positive impact on their relationship.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more about fertility and infertility.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: HealthyWomen, news release, Dec. 10, 2009

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