Congratulations ‒ you’ve decided to have a baby! You and your partner have been trying (and trying and trying) to get pregnant. The months keep ticking by, still with no positive pregnancy test.
At what point should you see your doctor about infertility?
The answer to this question usually depends on your age. If you’re under 35, doctors advise that you try getting pregnant for about a year before seeking help. That means you’re having unprotected sex with your partner that is well timed to ovulation. (Note: Using a fertility monitor or tracking your ovulation with a fertility chart can be especially helpful in maximizing your chances of conception).
Women ages 35 and older should see their doctor after six months of trying to conceive without pregnancy. Since your chances of having a baby decrease with each passing year, your doctor may recommend that you skip some of the steps younger couples usually take.
So what happens when you see your doctor about infertility?
Your first step is to get a comprehensive fertility evaluation, and that involves both partners. Your doctor will meet with you, look at your medical history, and then begin some tests to assess your fertility ‒ checking your hormone levels, determining potential ovulation disorders, looking at structural issues like blocked fallopian tubes, and so forth. A semen analysis also helps evaluate male factor infertility.
Once you have a diagnosis your treatment can begin, ranging from simple medications like Clomid to more complex procedures.
In the United States, 15 percent of all couples will face fertility issues, and many will be diagnosed with a reproductive disorder. Fertility testing is a critical part of your fertility evaluation and treatment. Your regular gynecologist may do some basic testing, or for more thorough fertility testing you may be referred to a reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) doctor, a physician who specializes in identifying and treating infertility in both men and women. Through fertility testing, your doctor can very likely identify factors that are causing problems and recommend treatments that will maximize your chances for achieving pregnancy.
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