There are also many misunderstandings, societal pressures and financial, physical and emotional considerations. Many people don't think of their fertility until it becomes an issue and most people assume that problems won't affect them.
There is a massive level of confusion around the subject of fertility in Ireland according to a new survey of adults aged 25 to 50, undertaken by Vhi Healthcare. Of those surveyed, two in three had either been through fertility treatment themselves or knew somebody who had been. Of those who had been through treatment, they described the experience as emotional and stressful.
Despite contrary evidence, 23% of those surveyed believed that age doesn't matter when it comes to fertility "as long as you lead a healthy life" and 26% believe that taking birth control impacts a woman's fertility.
The survey also revealed that only 1 in 3 men and 28% of women know the days in a woman's menstrual cycle that it's best to conceive.
Overall men think women's fertility declines later than do women and women think men's fertility declines later than do men! 83% of men and 64% of women don't know what IUI (Intrauterine insemination) stands for.
So how does your knowledge stack up? The World Health Organisation defines infertility as 'failure to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse'. Are fertility issues more likely to affect men or women? At what age does a man's fertility start to decline?
Fertility – has never been so relevant.
The subject has never been more relevant to mothers' average age for births registered in Ireland steadily rising. In 2015 it was 32.5 years. Almost two in five (37.8%) births in 2015 were to first-time mothers where the average age was 30.7 years. There were 65,909 births registered in Ireland in 2015.
So why aren't we discussing fertility in Ireland? What should you do if you need help? Typically, women at 35 are half as fertile as they were at 25. At 40 you're half as fertile as you were at 35.
Better technology & medical research means that many assisted reproduction options are now available. However, one of the biggest assets for fertility is to take control of your fertility & arm yourself with information early, so that potential issues can be flagged, even if you are still in your early 20s.
Can you answer these 8 questions on fertility? Can you separate fertility fact from fiction? Take the Vhi Fertility Quiz here:
While you might not even be considering starting a family right now but don't rule it out for the future, it's time to look at the factors that influence fertility and your own fertility profile, get informed and plan for the future – whatever it brings.
Vhi is taking a new approach to fertility support with a range of benefits to support you, designed to help you at every stage of your journey, from initial investigations and advice to fertility treatment including IVF. You'll have access to advice as well as money towards acupuncture and dieticians. If you've been trying for some time and would like to find out more, you'll benefit from fertility counselling, consultations and medical tests. And if you're having difficulty conceiving you get a benefit towards clinical treatments such as IUI and IVF. For more see vhi. ie