Are We Normal?
Couples trying to conceive often wonder if a fertility specialist will be needed, especially after a few months of no success. However, as long as there is no history of significant medical conditions, couples don’t need to worry too soon. Most fertility specialists agree that taking up to a year for conception to occur is perfectly normal.
1. Call right away
There are some instances in which the couple should make the call as soon as conception is desired. Women over age 40, with an irregular cycle, or any condition that interferes with successful conception should call right away. These circumstances don’t necessarily mean fertility assistance will be required, but chances are higher that help will be needed.
2. After 6 months
If the couple is between 35-40 years of age and has been trying to conceive for 6 months without success, a call to a fertility specialist is probably warranted. The specialist will likely begin with an in-depth history, followed by a physical exam. Following that, testing is usually done to determine the health of the uterus, tubes, and ovaries. Additional laboratory tests may be done to determine various hormonal levels. A semen analysis is also done to rule out male infertility.
3. Healthy but no conception
If a couple is healthy with regular medical and female gynecological screenings, but conception doesn’t occur quickly, make the call. In this instance, there may be nothing to be concerned about, but a check-up is a good idea. Sometimes conception takes a little time; however, about 85% of healthy couples conceive in the initial few months of trying.
Causes of infertility
Many conditions can interfere with successful conception, and not all are directly linked to reproductive organs. Medical conditions such as poorly-controlled diabetes may prevent successful pregnancy. Reproductive disorders occur in about 15% of couples trying to conceive. Male and female factors are equally responsible for infertility, with each being the cause about 1/3 of the time. The remaining 1/3 of cases are either due to unknown reasons or a combination of male and female issues.
Female reproductive disorders commonly resulting in infertility include abnormal ovulation, tubal blockage, uterine fibroids, and endometrial polyps. Male infertility is the result of decreased quantity or quality of sperm. However, the most common cause of infertility is the age of the mother. As women age, egg quantity and quality dramatically decrease, resulting in difficulty conceiving.
When do we make the call?
Generally speaking, healthy couples should not worry about contacting a fertility specialist until conception hasn’t occurred after a year of trying. However, that only holds for healthy couples where the female is less than 35 and has normal cycles. The good news is there are many advancements in the treatment of infertility, but education is key. Learning more about the fertility process and options available to help a couple conceive is important. The answer may be intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or medications to stimulate ovaries and mature the eggs for ovulation. Whatever the treatment, successful conception usually occurs within 2 years in 95% of couples. That is the best news of all. For more information infertility treatment, speak with a fertility specialist.