Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. Many couples are struggling with this problem, with around 15 percent in the United States, as well as in Singapore do not get pregnant within 12 months of trying.

Infertility is not just a woman’s problem, with both partners contributing to the problem. In men, medical conditions such as varicoceles, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, infections, and exposure to or treatment with chemotherapy or radiation, and environmental toxins are factors that contribute to fertility. At the same time unhealthy habits including heavy alcohol use, smoking and prohibited drug use also contribute to abnormal semen, which results in male infertility.

Meanwhile, medical problems that affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries impact on women's ability to get pregnant. However, fertility may decline with age, smoking and alcohol use, extreme weight loss or weight gain, as well as physical or emotional stress.

Although many couples experience infertility, in the United States not all couples seek help for these problems. In a study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine involving 15,162 men and women between the ages of 16 and 74, the researchers found that only 42.7 percent of women and 46.8 percent of men did not seek consult for any infertility problems.

But regardless whether an individual is married, or in a stable relationship, the National Infertility Association of America notes that couples who fail to conceive commonly experience a sense of loss and disappointment, as well as lack of energy, headaches, irritability, insomnia, extreme sadness and they lose concentration with regard to things that need to be accomplished.

If after seeking medical treatment, the couple still fails to conceive, there could be feelings of shock, numbness, anger, and guilt.

While some couples experience negative feelings due to infertility, researchers from Baylor, the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. found that there is a large “happiness gap” in the United States between couples who have children and those who do not.

This finding could be due to the scarcity of companies in the country that let parents take a paid leave or vacations, or have more flexible working schedule for illness or birth of a child, which is in contrast to countries with government-mandated paid leave policies which have a smaller “happiness gap” between couples who have kids and those who do not. MIMS