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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

What Is It?

Most couples who have unprotected sex at least twice per week are able to become pregnant within one year. If pregnancy does not occur after one year, the man and woman are diagnosed as having an infertility problem.

Infertility can stem from the man, the woman or both partners. In some couples, no cause of infertility can be found. In other couples, more than one cause exists.

Normal aging reduces a woman's ability to become pregnant. Ovulation is the process of forming and releasing an egg. With age, ovulation becomes slower and less effective.

Aging begins to reduce fertility as early as age 30. Pregnancy rates are very low after age 44. This is true even when fertility medications are used.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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