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40 Infertility Statistics and Facts: Worldwide Data

Unlocking the truth with 40 eye-opening facts about infertility.

Infertility, when a couple is unable to conceive after one year of trying, affects about 19 percent of women (1). This struggle is a common experience for many couples.

Uncover our 40 interesting infertility statistics and facts to learn more about infertility. We have analyzed official research, government findings, and in-depth studies to bring 40 accurate and astounding facts on this topic.

This post will cover infertility rates across the world, what causes infertility, and facts about both female and male infertility.

Key Facts About Infertility

Below are seven quick, must-know facts about infertility:

  1. About 16.6 percent of people worldwide are infertile.
  2. Age is one of the most significant risk factors for infertility, as women over 45 are unlikely to get pregnant naturally.
  3. Eating disorders can decrease a couple’s chance of getting and staying pregnant.
  4. Male infertility is the cause of at least half of all infertility cases.
  5. Exposure to heat, such as through hot tubs or saunas, can cause male infertility.
  6. Endometriosis, a leading cause of female infertility, affects about 10 to 15 percent of women.
  7. Infertility is most common in older women, non-Hispanic Black women, and women with low education.

Definition of Infertility

According to the CDC, infertility means not being able to conceive after one year or longer of trying (2). If you are over the age of 35, infertility can be defined as the inability to conceive after six months of trying.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines it as a disease of the male or female reproductive system but still considers it infertility after one year of trying to conceive (3).

Signs of infertility for women include pelvic pain, irregular periods, and unpredictable vaginal bleeding (4). Signs of male infertility include problems with sexual function, pain in the testicular area, repeated respiratory infections, and decreased body hair (5).

40 Statistics and Facts About Infertility

Infertility is a challenge that befalls many people, including men and women. We’ll walk through 40 critical fertility facts worth knowing, whether you’re going through it yourself or trying to support a loved one.

Infertility Rates in the US and Worldwide

If you’re curious about how prevalent infertility is across the world, we have eight interesting facts to share.

  1. Infertility rates in the US: In the U.S., about 19 percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 who haven’t given birth before are infertile.
  2. Infertility rates across the globe: The WHO estimates that one in six people of reproductive age will experience infertility at some point. This amounts to 16.6 percent worldwide.
  3. Infertility rates in Canada: The estimated infertility rate is one in six people (6).
  4. Infertility rates in the U.K.: The NHS reports about one in seven couples experience infertility (7). They also report that 20 percent of couples in which the woman is younger than 40 will struggle to conceive within the year of actively trying.
  5. Infertility rates in South Korea: About 20 percent of couples are treated for infertility in South Korea (8).
  6. Infertility rates in Australia: The estimated prevalence of infertility in Australia is 17 percent of women between 28 and 33 years (9).
  7. Infertility rates in Brazil: The estimated infertility rate in Brazil is between 15 and 20 percent of couples of reproductive age (10).
  8. Infertility rates in Africa: The prevalence of infertility in Africa is between 30 and 40 percent (11). The leading cause of infertility is infection.

Infertility Causes and Risk Factors

We will examine the main causes and risk factors for infertility in both men and women, shedding light on the challenges faced by both men and women in their journey to conceive.

  1. Tubal disorders: Tubal disorders, including blocked fallopian tubes, can cause infertility. Untreated STIs, complications after an unsafe abortion, and abdominal surgery can instigate this.
  2. Age is a risk factor: After age 30, a woman’s fertility begins to decrease (12). By the age of 45, it’s improbable that a woman will naturally become pregnant. For men, sperm quality declines around 30 (13). By a man’s late 30s, the risk of genetic diseases in the baby increases.
  3. Sperm factor: About 50 percent of couples struggle to conceive due to male infertility. (14). The sperm factor is a significant cause of infertility. This includes low sperm count, blockage of sperm delivery, and unusual sperm production.
  4. Ovulation disorders: An egg must be released for a woman to get pregnant. When a woman has hormonal issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, she is much more likely to experience infertility (15).
  5. Thyroid problems: When a woman has thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism, her hormones are out of balance (16). This can interfere with ovulation, which affects fertility.
  6. Problems with the testicles: When a man’s testicles are damaged, either from infections, cancer, or injury, they are more likely to experience infertility (17).
  7. Ejaculation problems: When men experience problems with ejaculation, they struggle to release semen during sex, which can cause infertility.
  8. Eating disorders: Women who have an eating disorder might struggle more to get pregnant (18). When a woman eats too few calories, she might stop ovulating, which can lead to the inability to get pregnant.

Male Infertility Statistics

Infertility affects both men and women. Let’s look at how infertility affects men first.

  1. Prevalence of male infertility: Of couples who are trying to get pregnant, male infertility is a major cause in at least half of all cases (19). This amounts to about 10 percent of all males in America struggling with infertility.
  2. Risk factors for male infertility: The main risk factors for male infertility include being overweight, being older than 40, having been exposed to radiation, and using drugs and alcohol.
  3. Leading type of male infertility: Low sperm count is the cause of male infertility in almost 50 percent of cases (20). This is also considered to be the most common cause of infertility. One of the main reasons for low sperm count is the high temperature in the testicles.
  4. Number of infertile men across the world: About 30 million men across the world are infertile (21). The highest rates are in Africa and Eastern Europe.
  5. The importance of semen analysis: The most accurate way to get a diagnosis of male fertility is through semen analysis (22). Almost 90 percent of male infertility is diagnosed through this simple test.
  6. Heat exposure can cause male infertility: Heat exposure, such as using a sauna or hot tub, can affect a man’s sperm count (23). However, this was reversible in about half of the men who stopped exposing themselves to high heat.
  7. Medical conditions that cause male fertility: Health issues, like diabetes or autoimmune disorders, can cause the testicles to fail.
  8. Genetic diseases can cause infertility: Genetic diseases, like microdeletion or Klinefeftler’s syndrome, can also lead to male infertility.

Female Infertility Statistics

Now, let’s look at what studies say about female infertility, its prevalence, and its causes.

  1. Ovulation function affects fertility: When a woman doesn’t ovulate normally (indicated by regular periods every 21 to 35 days), her fertility is at risk. Potential causes for the absence of ovulation include polycystic ovary syndrome, diminished ovarian reserve, and functional hypothalamic amenorrhea.
  2. Percentage of couples who have female fertility struggles: In about one-third of couples who are unable to conceive, the woman’s fertility is the cause (24). In about one-third of infertile couples, the problem may be with the man, woman, or both.
  3. Age affects a woman’s fertility more than men: While age affects both male and female infertility, women get hit harder. In a woman’s 30s, she is half as fertile as she was in her early 20s. Her fertility then significantly decreases again after she turns 35.
  4. Identifiable factors of female infertility: The WHO found the most identifiable factors of female infertility included ovulation disorders (25 percent), endometriosis (15 percent), pelvic adhesions (12 percent), and tubal blockage (11 percent).
  5. The truths of endometriosis: Endometriosis affects about 10 to 15 percent of women of reproductive age. About 40 to 50 percent of these women will experience infertility.
  6. Smoking increases a woman’s risk of infertility: Smoking can significantly affect a woman’s fertility. It can affect hormone production and harm the reproductive system, making it a challenge to conceive (25).
  7. Infertility treatment for women: Between 2011 and 2015, 11.9 percent of women had some sort of treatment (26). This included advice, help to prevent miscarriage, and ovulation drugs. About 1.4 percent of women received artificial insemination.
  8. Result of treatment for infertile women: About 44 percent of infertile women sought medical advice or intervention. Sixty-five percent of these women eventually gave birth.

Infertility Rates Over Time

Have infertility rates gotten worse or better over time? Let’s have a look at the data by year.

  1. Infertility rates have remained steady: From 1995 to 2019, infertility rates have remained steady (27). There haven’t been massive changes.
  2. Infertility is most common in some groups: Older women, non-Hispanic Black women, and women who have lower income or education are more likely to be infertile. This also applies to women who don’t have sexual and reproductive health service access.
  3. Infertility decline in the 80s and 90s: Although infertility rates have been steady since 1995, there was a decline in infertility throughout the 1980s and 90s, but the reason is unclear.
  4. IVF market prediction for 2025: The U.S. market size prediction for 2030 is predicted to grow to 33 billion dollars (28). In 2020, it was worth 14.5 billion dollars. The drastic growth is down to more women looking for IVF treatment, more people being able to afford it, and the success rates of IVF.
  5. Reports of infertility increased in the 80s: Although the actual number of infertility rates remained stable in the 80s, there was an increase in the number of women who reported being infertile. This was due to more women older than 35 delaying conception.
  6. Female sterilization over time: By 1979, 1.27 percent of women had been sterilized (29). Now, about 4.2 percent of women aged 20 to 29 rely on female sterilization (30). Nearly 22 percent of women aged 30 to 39 rely on it, and 39.4 percent of women aged 40 to 49 rely on it.
  7. Male fertility over time: In the past 40 years, sperm count and quality have decreased dramatically, with five percent of men now experiencing reduced fertility (31). This may be caused by exposure to chemicals that disrupt endocrine, such as plasticizers and phthalates.
  8. Infertility highs and lows: The rate of infertility remains steady, on the whole, but it does have various results per year. There was a low between 2006 and 2010 of 5.8 percent and a high between 2017 and 2019 at 8.1 percent.


How Many Couples Struggle With Infertility?

About one in eight couples in the U.S. struggle with infertility (32). This amounts to about 6.7 million people per year.

Is Infertility on the Rise?

While the infertility rates have been pretty steady in the U.S., worldwide, they are on the rise. Roughly one in six people struggle with infertility (33). More and more people are seeking help to start a family, such as IVF.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.