Fertility Chronicles is proud to present a special blog series, “From the Fertility Experts,” where leading fertility experts answer commonly asked questions for patients about their fertility health and treatment options. We hope this series can help patients navigate their personal fertility journeys.
You may feel as though you and your partner have been trying forever to make a baby. There is no magic about the right time to seek help. If you are concerned about your fertility and the concern is disrupting your life, then the sooner the better to consult with a fertility expert.
Usually, it’s time to seek a doctor’s help if it’s been a year without success. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines recommend that if you are a woman under age 35, you should see an infertility specialist if you’re not pregnant after a year of frequent intercourse without using birth control. If you’re older than 35, it’s time to see an infertility doctor (commonly called an REI, or a specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) after you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months.
Be sure not to wait a year if you have irregular periods – which could be a sign that you’re not ovulating – or if you or your partner have risk factors for infertility. For example, if you have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, fibroids, endometriosis, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you should see an REI when you start to try to conceive.
Even if you have no risk factors, any time that you are concerned or just want a peace of mind, it’s a good idea to see your infertility specialist for a preconception consultation to check that you’re ovulating regularly, your partner’s sperm count is normal, and you know how to time intercourse to give yourself the best chance to conceive.
For women, problems with ovulation account for about a quarter of all infertility cases, so your doctor may focus particularly on whether you are ovulating regularly. Many couples diagnosed with infertility have more than one cause for infertility. Generally, a diagnosis is made involving the woman in a third of all cases, the man in another third, and both in another third.
If needed, your infertility specialist may recommend specific tests, such as x-rays of the fallopian tubes and uterus for you and semen analysis for your male partner.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. About one out of seven couples has trouble conceiving. Often doctors find that couples wait longer than they should, perhaps because they’re not ready for medical intervention or they believe it will happen as long as they keep trying. Or they simply don’t know that they may need help or that help is even available.
If you have doubts about your or your partner’s fertility, don’t hesitate to call in an infertility specialist. It could save you time and worry in the long run.
To locate physicians in your area who specialize in female or male infertility issues, go to Univfy’s provider directory or to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) patient website at: www.ReproductiveFacts.org and click on "Find a Healthcare Professional.”
Want to learn more about Trying To Get Pregnant? Click here for more fertility health information and interactive tools to personalize your fertility path.
Want to learn more about Fertility Concerns? Click here for more fertility health information and interactive tools to personalize your fertility path.
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