Young Men and Women Can Also Be Infertile

Young couple looking at a negative pregnancy test
Yes, you can be young and infertile. Infertility affects people of all ages. Frank Wartenberg / Getty Images

Do women only over age 35 deal with infertility? Or can infertility occur during younger ages, such as in the 20s and early 30s?

With the emphasis in the media on age and fertility, it's not hard to see where people may think that infertility is limited to older couples. Just about every month there seems to be a news story reporting on women over 35 and their diminishing fertility.

So when a couple in their 20s or early 30s has trouble getting pregnant, it may come as a surprise. However, infertility in younger women is not so uncommon.

The Odds You'll Experience Infertility In Your 20s and Early 30s

While it's true that infertility is more common after 35, infertility can strike at any age. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, 10% of women reported seeking help for infertility at least once in the past.

Also, 7% of married couples in the survey reported that they had had 12 months of unprotected sex and the woman had not become pregnant.

What about women in their 20s? According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's report on Age and Fertility...

  • 7% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 are infertile
  • 9% are infertile between the ages of 25 and 29
  • 15% are infertile between the ages of 30 and 34

These are only the statistics for women. Young men also experience infertility. Up to 50% of infertility cases include male factor infertility. While age does have an effect on male fertility, the most common causes of male factor infertility are not related to age.

Clearly, infertility affects women and men of all ages.

If Your Doctor Tells You That You're "Too Young" to Be Infertile

Despite these statistics, there are doctors turning away young couples from fertility testing. They may tell them they are "too young" for infertility, and that they should keep trying.

If you have been trying to conceive for 12 months, and you have not conceived, you should see your doctor and get fertility testing done.

Also, if you have infertility symptoms or risk factors, you should get seen by your doctor sooner. You don't need to try for a year first if there are possible signs of a fertility problem.

If you have been trying for a year, and your doctor turns you away, find another doctor. It is important you advocate for yourself. In some cases, delaying fertility treatment can decrease the odds of pregnancy success. Don't let a stubborn or misinformed doctor stop you from getting the care you deserve.

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Age and Fertility: A Guide to Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology: Home. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Male Infertility. American Urological Association. Accessed November 6, 2011.

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.