Infertility facts and numbers

It’s infertility awareness week and there is no better time to promote education about reproductive health so we have gathered some important facts and and statistics about infertility.

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after trying to conceive for 12 months, in women under 35 years old or 6 months, in women over 35.

Demographics and Causes of Infertility

The prevalence of infertility has increased. According to  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates continue to decline and hit 30-years low. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s total birth  rate has been falling since 2009, from 1.68 children per woman to 1.54 in 2016, the lowest level recorded since 2003.

The average age of mothers at first birth is 29.2 years and continue to rise steadily since the mid-1960s.

Fertility in both men and women decline with age however the decline is steeper in women:

30-year-old women have 20% chance to get pregnant each month

40-year- old women have 5% chance to get pregnant each month


In Canada, 1 in 6 couples are affected by infertility.

  • 12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much
  • Infertility affects men and women equally.


⅓ of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors

⅓ of infertility cases can be attributed to female factors

⅓ of infertility cases are a combination of both male and female factors




Male infertility causes Female infertility causes
Abnormal sperm production or function Due to a health condition or disease Ovulation disorders – These include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Hyperprolactinemia, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Problems with the delivery of sperm Uterine or cervical abnormalities – including abnormalities in the opening of the cervix,  polyps in the uterus or shape of the uterus.
Overexposure to certain environmental factors such as pesticides and other chemicals or radiation Fallopian tube damage or blockage –often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis)
Damage related to cancer and its treatment Endometriosis – when the endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus
  Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause, before 40)
  Pelvic adhesions – a scar tissue that binds organs after infection or surgery.
  Damage related to cancer and its treatment


Types of ART :

    • Ovulation Induction –  Hormonal therapy (tablet or injection) to stimulate egg development and release, or ovulation.
    • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) -Insertion of a male’s semen into the uterus to facilitate fertilization.
    • Donor Conception – Fertilization through donor egg, and/or donor sperm or donor embryos.
    • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) The fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish.
    • IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)– An IVF procedure where a single sperm is directly injected into the egg cytoplasm to achieve fertilisation
    • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)- The sperm and eggs are just mixed together and inserted together to the fallopian tube where fertilization will occur.
    • Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) The fertilized eggs (zygote) are placed in the fallopian tubes within 24 hours after fertilization.
    • Gestational CarrierThe woman carrying the pregnancy is not biologically related to the child.

GIFT and ZIFT are not common procedures and account for only 2% of ART procedures.



The steps in IVF procedure:                                                                                               


 1.  Hormone Therapy (OI)

 2.  Egg Retrieval and Sperm collection Insemination

 3.  Egg and sperm preparation

 4.  Egg and sperm are mixed to promote fertilization

 5.  Embryo is grown in the lab for 3-5 days  

 6.  Embryo transfer

 7.  After two weeks pregnancy is confirmed in blood and ultrasound test

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