Infertility impacts more than one in every six Australian couples, or over three million Australians, and this trend is increasing. Infertility is predicted to affect one in three couples within the next ten years.
Infertility is clinically diagnosed after a couple has been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive after one year of trying to fall pregnant. It can also refer to the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. Infertility can affect the male or female partner, or both.
Today we are choosing to pursue parenthood much later in our reproductive lives than ever before. Some studies are estimating that the average age for females to conceive for the first time is about 30.2 years. Compare this to previous generations when the average age was 24.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of births in women aged over 30 has doubled in the past 25 years.
The birth rate for women under 29 has almost halved over the past 20 years.
The highest birth rate is now between the 30 to 34 age group for women.
Women aged between 35 and 39 are having more babies than women aged 20 to 24.
The ‘baby boom' period peaked in 1961 when women were having an average 3.5 babies each. In 2000, this number declined by half to 1.75 babies per woman within 40 years.
Marriage is happening later now and this could be a significant factor in the decline of conception rates. In 1979, the median age of a woman marrying was 21 - in 2002 it was 29. From age 21, a woman typically has about 1 million eggs and by 29 this number drops to an average 250,000.
An average healthy couple in their 20s has a 20 percent chance of successful conception in any given month. After the age of 35, this success rate drops to a 10 to 15 percent chance. In a woman over 40, the odds drop to a 5 percent chance of conception. After the age of 45, the conception percentage is about 1 percent.
However, Jason believes these statistics are not solid, indisputable facts and there is still hope for women who can defy the laws of statistics and make the improbable happen. Even with these statistical odds, the number of births among women aged 45 to 49 today has increased a remarkable 500 percent from only a decade ago.
Through Jason Jackson's Greenslopes Naturopathic Clinic, at least 60 48-year-old women and more than a few 50-year-old women have given birth for the first time after being given little to no chance of natural conception.
Male reproductive failure is thought to be the cause of 50 to 70 percent of infertility cases in western countries.
Of the 20 per cent of couples who experience infertility, the causal factor can be in found in 80 per cent of couples.
Making Babies is available for order at bookstores everywhere and online for $38.95 plus postage $7.50 within Australia at Zeus Publications.