Infertility facts and figures

If you are experiencing infertility, here are the basic facts you need to know—from your chances of getting pregnant each month, to the success rates of infertility treatments and more.

By Today's Parent
sperm penetrating egg Photo: iStock

1 in 6 couples struggles with infertility.

The clinical definition of infertility is a couple who has been having unprotected sex for one year and hasn’t conceived. This changes to six months if you are a woman over 35 years old.

There are many different causes of infertility: lack of regular ovulation, a low sperm count, low sperm motility, premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause) and anatomical problems, such as blocked Fallopian tubes and problems with the uterine cavity. In some couples, there is no obvious cause, which is called unexplained infertility.

In about 40 percent of infertility cases, a medical issue with the woman is the cause. In 30 percent of cases it is the man. And in 20 per cent of cases, both the man and woman are the cause. Approximately 10 percent of infertility cases can’t be explained.

The most common cause of infertility is a lack of irregular ovulation. This accounts for about 20 percent of infertility cases.


A woman’s age often plays a role in infertility. According to Health Canada, a 30-year-old woman has a 90 percent chance of getting pregnant. That chance drops to 77 percent by age 35 and 55 percent if you are 40 or older.

Per menstrual cycle, your chances of getting pregnant are 25 to 30 percent.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are the most common infertility treatments.

IUI has a 10 to 20 percent pregnancy rate per procedure—a healthy woman under 35 can expect a success rate of about 19 percent per procedure. Each insemination costs $300 to $500, plus the cost of medications.

According to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, the clinical pregnancy rate per IVF cycle started are:

  • 33 percent for women under 35 years old
  • 28 percent for women 35 to 39 years old
  • 13 percent for women 40 years and older

IVF costs $6,000 and up per cycle, depending on add-ons chosen and whether eggs or embryos are frozen after the cycle.

In 2012, CFAS reports that there were more than 27,000 cycles of in vitro fertilization in Canada, but only 5,971 resulted in live births.

There is no formal limit to the number of times a patient can undergo IVF, but most fertility doctors recommend you reevaluate after three unsuccessful rounds.

This article was originally published on May 11, 2016

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