Do you think it’s time to see a specialist about infertility? If you’re having unprotected sex, the likelihood of pregnancy is about 20% per month for couples that are not struggling with infertility. Approximately 80% will be pregnant within one year of trying. How do you know if you have a fertility problem? What should you do if you suspect you have a problem?
The normal couple is generally considered to between 18-35 years of age. Women under 35 are encouraged to have an evaluation with labs to make sure they are ovulating and a HSG to make sure the tubes are open. It is fine for them to try 6-12 months unless there are other fertility issues to consider. Women older than 35 experience declining fertility and with every year that goes by the fertility is decreasing at a rapid rate. For older couples, time is of the essence and we encourage them to seek treatment after 3 to 6 months or less.
Optimum frequency of intercourse is generally every other day near the time of the woman’s ovulation. Less frequent relations may result in missing the 24 hour ovulation window. More frequent relations may result in a lower sperm concentration. Everyone SAYS it only takes 1 sperm to fertilize an egg, but outside the laboratory, the reality is that millions are required- but that is another topic entirely!
Could you have a fertility problem?
If YOU answer yes to any of these – OUR answer is “possibly.”
- Irregular periods. (Bleeding being closer than about 21 days or more than 35 days counting from first day of bright red bleeding to the NEXT first day of bright red bleeding).
- Significant change in menstrual pattern-heavy flow (flooding), change from regular to irregular.
- Discharge from the nipples- this is only normal when breast feeding or for a short time after stopping nursing.
- History of any surgery into the abdomen- appendicitis, removal of ovarian cyst, cesarean section. Any surgery can potentially cause scar tissue that may block tubes.
- History of pelvic infection such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or any infection that required oral or injectable antibiotics.
- Chronic vaginal infections- more than 1 every 2-3 months.
- History of D&C or abortion if followed by a dramatic change in menstrual pattern.
- History of infertility with previous partner.
- Family history of early menopause or other auto immune disorders.
- Increasing pelvic pain-especially with intercourse.
- History of surgery to the genitals – hernia repair, testicular surgery.
- Use of steroids – especially those that contain testosterone.
- History of STD – gonorrhea, chlamydia, NSU (non specific urethritis).
Change is quality or quantity of emission or erectile function.
Any of these conditions MAY indicate a problem with reproductive function.
Gynecologist or Specialist?
Your gynecologist may begin your initial examination. But a specialist can target specific tests based upon your history which may ultimately save you valuable time and money. The specialist also generally has an office set to meet the needs of those experiencing fertility treatments – weekend hours, early morning appointments, etc. And rest assured, your gynecologist and reproductive specialist will work closely together to help you reach your goal of having a family.