Infertility is a highly personal and emotional subject and it’s a medical problem that is growing. In fact, six million American adults will be touched by infertility this year representing all ages, socioeconomic groups, and genders. Because of the personalized nature of infertility—the inability to conceive or take a baby to term—there is no one rule as to when to seek treatment but there are guidelines including:
- Couples over the age of 35 and six months of unprotected intercourse with no pregnancy;
- Couples under the age of 30 with one year of unprotected intercourse with no pregnancy,
- Known medical or health issues that could impact natural conception (i.e., cancer, diabetes, sterilization procedures, etc.) It’s important to note, however, that every couple is different and a consultation might in order much sooner. If nothing else than to provide peace of mind.
Infertility Evaluation Definition
The textbook definition of infertility is when a couple has difficulty achieving pregnancy after trying for one year. However, the work-up can be started earlier even if a couple has attempted pregnancy for a shorter period, especially if the female partner is older than 35. Some women have a known condition that will not allow a chance of conception without help and should get help without delay. In the female partner some of these conditions include blocked fallopian tubes from infections or tubal ligations, ovulation defects, and/or moderate to severe endometriosis. Very low sperm counts or no sperm in the male partner can also warrant immediate intervention or treatment.
Definition: Inability to get pregnant after one year of attempts (if the woman partner is under age 35) or after 6 months of attempts (if over age 35).
Incidence: Approximately 10-12% of couples are unable to conceive. The chance of a fertile couple to conceive is 20-25% each month, or 85% after 12 months of attempts.
Finding the right physician under any circumstances can be a daunting task. A patient who needs help with fertility may be faced with complicated medical decisions. Friends, family, and even the press and the Internet can provide contradictory information, making it extremely important that each patient find the most appropriate physician to advise her, support her and guide her through treatment. The reproductive endocrinologist will be responsible for directing medical testing and directing the appropriate treatment. Clearly, finding the right doctor to guide a patient through the process can be difficult.
After months of trying to get pregnant without success, “infertility” is never a word a couple wants to hear from their physician. Today, many couples are gaining hope from improvements for infertility diagnosis and treatment — making the dream of conceiving a child a real possibility.
Infertility is a common disease many couples face during their reproductive years. It occurs in about 15% of couples and is defined as the inability to conceive after twelve months of unprotected intercourse. Women over the age of 35 who are unable to conceive after six months and have irregular cycles, or men and women who have a past history of infertility can also fall under this definition.