Understanding Infertility

InfertilityInfertility is the term given to couples under 35 years of age who do not become pregnant after a year of frequent, unprotected sex. In some cases, infertility is diagnosed after six months depending on age and other factors.  There are many reasons for infertility. While 10%-15% of couples in the US are infertile, most can become pregnant with appropriate treatment.

Are there symptoms of infertility?

Many infertile women have no symptoms, but irregular menses is one of the more common ones. In addition, about 30% of infertile couples have a male factor as part of their problem.

When should I see my doctor about infertility?

After a year without pregnancy, a couple should see their OB/GYN about infertility.  However, there are reasons to see your doctor earlier than that:

  • If you are between the ages of 35 and 40 and have tried to get pregnant for six months.
  • If you are older than 40, you should see your doctor immediately for testing or treatment.
  • If you have irregular menstrual periods.
  • If you have extremely painful or heavy periods.
  • If you have a family history of fertility problems.
  • If you have endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • If you have had cancer treatment.

When should the husband consult with a doctor about infertility?

  • In almost all cases, the husband should have a semen analysis performed early in the evaluation of the couple
  • If you have a history of testicular, prostate or other sexual problems.
  • If you’ve had cancer treatment.

Is there a treatment for infertility?

There may be single or multiple reasons for infertility, but the good news is that there are safe and effective treatments for infertility, which greatly improve the couple’s chances of becoming pregnant and having a baby.