Jennifer Aniston’s IVF revelation raises fertility awareness

“Friends” star Jennifer Aniston’s recent revelation about her infertility and IVF journey has thankfully put fertility issues under the spotlight, raising much needed awareness about fertility and the fertility treatments available, such as IVF.

Passionate about raising awareness of fertility issues, our team at Cape Fertility is pleased to share Aniston’s story and to add our voice to raise awareness that infertility affects millions of couples around the world, affecting men and women equally and – perhaps even more importantly – that infertility is a medical condition for which there are a number of very effective treatments, such as IVF, available at world-class, accredited fertility clinics.

For more than 30 years, Jennifer Arniston has been an icon for modern women, and all aspects of her life have been scrutinized by fans and the media alike, including her high-profile marriages to Brad Pitt and Justin Theroux, and – of course – the fact that she did not have children with either.

Recently, in a heartfelt interview with “Allure”, she shared the challenges of living with infertility as well as her IVF journey, saying: “I was trying to get pregnant. It was a challenging road for me… I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it. I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor’. You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed.”

The fact is that Aniston story is not uncommon, with as many as one in six couples worldwide struggling with infertility and – because of a lack of awareness about fertility and the false social stigma still surrounding infertility – many people do not seek treatment for what is – in the vast majority of cases – a treatable medical condition.

Infertility is widespread

In speaking out about her fertility challenges, Arniston has given a voice to millions of women who are struggling with infertility, which is far more common than most people realise.

Worldwide, about 1 in 6 couples of reproductive age have a fertility problem, while in developing countries the number is as high as 1 in 4 couples. It is so prevalent that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised infertility as a global public health issue.

Infertility doesn’t discriminate either, and can be an issue regardless of gender, race, religion, economic status or fame.

For certain, infertility is not just a female problem – men are also affected by infertility. In fact, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, approximately one-third of infertility is due to the female partner, one-third to the male partner and one-third due to a combination of problems in both partners, or is unexplained.

Infertility is a medical condition that can be treated

Perhaps even more important than raising awareness that infertility is far more common than most people realise, is spreading the word that infertility is most often caused by a medical condition – and can be treated with medical treatments such as IVF (in vitro fertilisation).

For example, the conditions that could result in infertility in women include advanced age (35+), endometriosis or ovulation problems. It may also be that a woman’s ovaries are damaged or removed surgically or that she has undergone chemotherapy, and her ovaries are not functioning. Hormone imbalance and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are also medical conditions that are known causes of infertility.

In men, infertility is most commonly linked to sperm disorders, but can also be the result of injury, hormonal problems, lifestyle factors and the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

As such, infertility does not mean you can’t fall pregnant or have a baby, but rather that you may require medical assistance to do so, because – in most cases – infertility is a medical condition that can be treated.

What treatments are available for infertility?

Fortunately, medical treatments for infertility are as many and varied as the possible causes of it.

IVF is one of the better-known fertility treatments available, due to its success rate and the growing number of celebrities who have spoken up about having undergone IVF treatment.

During IVF the female partner’s eggs are collected and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory, before the resulting embryo (fertilised egg) is implanted into the uterus. This fertility treatment has been safely and effectively provided for three decades and an estimated 8 million babies has been born thanks to IVF.

Of course, IVF cycle is not the answer for every couple, as was true for Aniston, and often more than one treatment cycle is required to achieve a pregnancy. However, at Cape Fertility, our average pregnancy rate with three IVF cycles is 79%, among the highest in the world.

It is also true that advanced treatments such as IVF are not always required. In fact, statistics from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine indicates that in the vast majority – up to 90% – of infertility cases, successful treatment involves drug therapy or surgical procedures, instead of advanced reproductive technologies.

For example, artificial insemination (AI) has been used for hundreds of years, and can be done with the partner’s sperm or with a donor’s sperm. There are also medical treatments such as ovulation induction and alternatives such as egg donation for women with infertility challenges resulting from problems with ovulation poor ovarian reserve or menopause. Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are minimally invasive surgical procedures used for treating conditions such as endometriosis or blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.

There are also treatments available for male infertility. For example, among the most exciting medical developments is Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – a breakthrough treatment that ensures that almost every man has the possibility to have his own biological child, even those who were previously considered sterile.

When and where to get your fertility treatment

If you are facing fertility challenges, please know that you are not alone – hundreds of thousands of couples around the world are facing similar issues, and even the most successful of celebrities have needed medical assistance to fall pregnant.

It is also crucial to realise that help is available at specialised fertility clinics that offer a range of safe, advanced treatments.

If you are concerned about your fertility, don’t delay! See a fertility specialist as soon as possible. As infertility treatments are medical procedures, it is also very important that you select a fertility specialist and a fertility clinic that is accredited with the Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG).

Cape Fertility is not only accredited, we are also a leading fertility clinic achieving world-class results. Our exceptionally well-qualified and experienced fertility specialists are backed up by a team of experts in the many aspects of fertility treatment. We are guided by the highest ethical standards, to provide our patients with the best quality, individualised, compassionate fertility care.

We also achieve some of the best success rates in the world. Yet, we are always striving for higher success rates to ensure even more of our patients can experience the joy of have their own baby.

Arranging your initial consultation with one of our fertility specialists is as simple as contacting us here

At Cape Fertility, we value each individual patient and we look forward to providing you with our signature individualised and personalised care.