Marla Ahlgrimm, a retired hormone treatment expert and compounding pharmacist, explains that infertility affects up to 25% of all women of childbearing age. It is an emotional experience that can make you feel as though you are the only one of your friends without a bouncing bundle of joy. But, you are not alone. Here, Ahlgrimm discusses a few of the issues surrounding infertility and touches on celebrities who’ve dealt with this emotional coaster.
Q: What is infertility?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Infertility is the unfortunate circumstance that results when a woman is trying to conceive for a period of six months to one year, depending on age, and is unable. It is not, however, an uncommon circumstance, with as many as one in four women experiencing infertility to some degree.
Q: What causes it?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The answer to that is as varied as there are types of women in the world. Sometimes, infertility is caused by undiagnosed physical deformities. Sometimes, a woman’s partner simply does not produce enough sperm. Commonly, infertility is triggered by physical or emotional stress, which wreaks havoc on the body and can throw off woman’s menstrual cycle into disarray.
Q: How is infertility treated?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The first course of action is to talk to your healthcare provider or gynecologist. He or she will take a family history and help pinpoint lifestyle changes that may increase your chances of conception. This may include changing your diet or exercise habits or timing your sexual encounters to coincide with ovulation. If early intervention does not help, assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, may be recommended.
Q: Is infertility an issue that only affects low-income people?
Marla Ahlgrimm: That’s a great question, but no, infertility does not discriminate. It affects women of all ages, health status, and wealth. Kim Kardashian, for example, has spoken openly about her issues conceiving a second child with husband Kanye West. Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, Brooke Shields, Sarah Jessica Parker, Celine Dion and Courtney Cox are among other famous faces to have suffered with infertility, a few of which opted for in vitro fertilization treatments.