In the age of celebrity baby bumps, it’s no surprise that infertility would make its way into the gossip magazines and on entertainment blogs.
High-profile celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman and Brooke Shields have been outspoken about their struggles to conceive as well as fertility options they have pursued including in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. As much as infertility seems to be misunderstood by the general public, the media often portrays it in a sensationalized light, only feeding that larger cultural misunderstanding about infertility. With all the swell of media attention on baby bumps and just how those bumps came to be, we’re operating in a new age of public discourse about infertility, privacy and simply reporting the facts correctly.
“Infertility is a complex and often misunderstood condition, which is why there's so much confusion surrounding it,” says Dr. Carl Herbert, Board Certified by The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; and president of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, a leading international center for infertility treatments. “Although infertility is often considered a taboo topic, the truth is that millions of couples grapple with this issue. The pathway to parenthood is not always smooth.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 % of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15–44 years have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Although many people still think of infertility as a “woman's problem,” in about 40% of infertile couples, the man is the sole cause or a contributing cause of the inability to conceive.
“Annually, nearly five million American couples experience infertility,” says Dr. Herbert. “Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12-months of active attempts for women under age 35, but in just 6-months for women over age 35.Just over one million couples seek medical advice regarding infertility on a yearly basis. At Pacific Fertility Center, our mission is to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders. We are helping to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility.”