Q:

What percentage of women cannot have children?

A:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 percent of married women between the ages of 15 to 44 in the United States are infertile. Approximately 7.4 million U.S. women in this age group have used infertility services.

Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant even with numerous sessions of unprotected sex with a partner for at least 12 consecutive months. Infertility may be caused by a factor affecting either partner, and oftentimes the only symptom is the inability to get pregnant. Women should generally wait a year before seeing a doctor for infertility unless they are over age 40, have irregular menstruation, have undergone cancer treatment or have had more than one miscarriage. Men should see a doctor before the one-year mark if they have a low sperm count, have undergone cancer treatment, have impaired sexual function or have had surgery in the scrotal area, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Common causes of infertility in women include cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage, endometriosis, ovulation disorders, early menopause and pelvic adhesions. Factors that put women at a greater risk of infertility include tobacco use, alcohol use, age, lack of exercise, being underweight and being overweight. Mayo Clinic states that risk factors are the same for both men and women.


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