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Brianna Allison graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s degree in Multiplatform Journalism and one in Public Relations. Brianna has a strong passion for storytelling and loves being a part of a media-enriched environment. She has worked in broadcast journalism, social media, and print journalism in the past. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of Today's Patient, she is also a member of the broadcast team for The Power of the Patient Project. 


Infertility is a global problem that affects millions of men and women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “48 million couples and 186 million individuals have infertility globally.” However, there is still stigma and misinformation surrounding infertility. To combat these myths and remove these barriers, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association founded National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in 1989. This movement empowers those who are struggling to build their family, bring awareness to the barriers that they face, and provide them with support and resources.


Barbara Collura, RESOLVE’s President/CEO explains that “The barriers include access to care, financial limitations, and even proposed legislation and policies which could make it impossible to access family building options like IVF. We encourage those who struggle to build a family to use our resources and find their voice. Let’s use NIAW to raise our voices, talk about the issues too many of us face, and ensure we continue supporting those most in need.”


When Is National Infertility Awareness Week?

NIAW is typically held during the last full week of April, close to Mother’s Day. This year National Infertility Week was from April 23 through 29, 2023.


What is infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year or longer of unprotected sex. However, women are more likely to experience infertility as they age, so some providers evaluate and treat women who are 35 years or older after 6 months of unprotected sex. Although infertility is mainly focused on women, it can also affect men. 


What causes infertility?

Infertility in Women

  • Disruption of ovarian function

    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

      • PCOS is a condition that causes women to not ovulate, or to ovulate irregularly.

    • Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR)

      • DOR is a condition in which there are fewer eggs remaining in the ovaries than expected for a given age.

    • Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA)

      • FHA is a condition caused by excessive exercise, weight loss, stress, or often a combination of these factors.

    • Improper function of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands

    • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)

      • POI occurs when a woman’s ovaries fail before she is 40 years of age.

    • Menopause

  • Fallopian tube obstruction

  • Physical characteristics of the uterus


Infertility in Men

  • Disruption of testicular or ejaculatory function

    • Varicocele, a condition in which the veins within a man’s testicle are enlarged

    • Trauma to the testes

    • Cancer treatment

    • Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, certain types of autoimmune disorders, and certain types of infections

    • Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, certain types of autoimmune disorders, and certain types of infections

  • Hormonal disorders

    • Improper function of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands

  • Genetic disorders

    • Klinefelter’s syndrome

    • Y-chromosome microdeletion

    •  Myotonic dystrophy

    • Other less common genetic disorders


What are the options to help with infertility?

If you are experiencing infertility, consider making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist that specializes in managing infertility. They also can help those who experience recurrent pregnancy loss. They could treat infertility with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or assisted reproductive technology, with the most common being (IVF). Learn more about your options here.


May 2023 page 6

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