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National Infertility Awareness Week: “Don't Ignore Infertility”

"Don't Ignore Infertility" is this year's theme
"Don't Ignore Infertility" is this year's theme

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 22 – 28, 2012. It is a nationwide campaign intended to educate the public about infertility and the concerns of the infertility community. This year's theme is “Don't Ignore Infertility.”

What is infertility? The Fertility Center in Grand Rapids defines it as the inability for a couple to conceive after one year of normal intercourse with no contraception. Approximately one out of six couples in the United States experience difficulty conceiving and struggle with infertility during their childbearing years. And it doesn't only affect women – men experience problems associated with infertility as well.

There are a variety of treatment options available. They include:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • Intrauterine Insemination
  • Surrogacy / Gestational Carrier
  • Embryo Donors
  • Embryo Recipients
  • Donor Sperm

The IVF method, once considered experimental, was developed in England. The world's first baby conceived via in vitro fertilization in 1978 was Louise Joy Brown, known as the “test-tube” baby.

According to Fertility Nation, more than 50,000 American children a year are born using in vitro fertilization, and the state of Michigan ranks 23rd in the country in its use. This ranking was based on the total number of IVF cycles started using a women's own fresh and frozen eggs, and not donor eggs. This figure does not include the success rates for IVF.

One drawback is the expense associated with the IVF method. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states the average cost of an IVF cycle in the United States is $12,400.

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