Most couples assume that they will conceive without any difficulty. In fact, 85 percent of all couples will conceive within a year. Traditionally, the one-year mark without conception defines infertility. However, there are individuals who have hints or clear indications that they might have a fertility problem even before trying to conceive and should be evaluated and treated sooner rather than later.
At the very least an evaluation can assure you that your reproductive system appears normal or, if a problem is found, it can be addressed early in the process.
Several types of healthcare providers can diagnose and treat fertility problems.
- Your primary care physician, who may do very basic testing such as a semenalysis or basic hormonal testing.
- A general OB/GYN who has a special interest in infertility treatment.
- A reproductive endocrinologist who has advanced training and specializes in infertility. This type of physician can do all types of infertility evaluation and treatment.
Potential Problems for Women
The signs of potential fertility problems for the would-be mother are:
- Women over 35 years of age should be evaluated after six months of attempting pregnancy without success. There is no reason to delay fertility evaluation and treatment for a year or more when the chances of becoming pregnant continue to decrease with age.
- Women with a history of two or more miscarriages, a history of premature birth, or prior pregnancy complications.
- Women who have no periods, have more than one period a month, or have less than one menstrual period every 40 days should be evaluated without delay because of possible ovulatory problems.
- Women who have had abdominal or pelvic surgery, ruptured appendix, pelvic infection, sexually transmitted infection, or an IUD are predisposed to scarring of the fallopian tubes and may be at increased risk of a tubal pregnancy or difficulty conceiving.