When Is The Right Time To See A Fertility Expert?
Around 15 % of US couples struggle with becoming pregnant. Infertility is defined medically as men and women who are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sex and as women who have had two or more miscarriages. There are many factors which can contribute to infertility, in some cases, there are several causes. Typically, one-third of instances of infertility are caused by female reproductive issues, one third by male issues. The remaining cases are caused by combined issues, or the cause is unknown.
Problems getting pregnant
For a woman to become pregnant, a sperm and egg must combine. Problems can arise if the man has a low sperm count or unhealthy sperm. Pregnancy can also be complicated if the woman has difficulty ovulating or has problems with the uterus or cervix.
Common reasons for infertility
The most common reasons for male infertility include:
- Abnormal sperm function or production: caused by genetic issues, undescended testicles, sexually transmitted infections, or health issues such as diabetes and cancer treatment.
- Issues with sperm delivery: caused by genetic disease, premature ejaculation, or damage to reproductive organs.
- Environmental factors: caused by alcohol, smoking, drug use, or environmental toxins.
The most common reasons for female infertility include:
- Issues with ovulation: caused by hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or hyperprolactinemia.
- Cervical or uterine abnormalities: such as blockages in the cervix, uterine polyps, or fibroids.
- Blockage of or damage to the fallopian tubes: caused by pelvic inflammatory disease or inflammation.
- Endometriosis: abnormal grown of the lining of the uterus.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: also known as early menopause.
- Pelvic adhesions: scar tissue from a pelvic infection.
When is it time to see a fertility expert?
Couples should see a fertility expert if the woman is under 35 years of age with regular periods and has been unable to become pregnant after trying for one year. For women age 35-39 a visit should be planned after 6 months of trying and for women over 40 seek a physician’s help after 3 months of trying.
Talk to an expert
Some people may feel that seeing a fertility expert as a big step. Many couples talk themselves out of the need to see a specialist or they worry that the cost will be prohibitive. The best thing to do is take the process one step at a time. Discussing any concerns with a fertility expert is the best way to get on track to starting a family.