Try, try, try again
Many women are surprised to learn pregnancy is only possible for a few days each cycle. This means timing is of the utmost importance when trying to conceive. Having intercourse too early or late in the cycle is unlikely to result in a positive pregnancy test. Many women can benefit from a cycle-tracking app or ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) to determine peak fertility days.
Time to baby
For women under the age of 35, the recommendation is to try to get pregnant for 1 year before seeking professional help. Women over 35 should consult a reproductive specialist after 6 months of TTC without success. Patients over 40 should speak with the doctor now to make a plan for pregnancy. An earlier consult may also be a good idea if a woman experienced fertility problems with a previous pregnancy.
What to expect
Many women wonder what might happen once an appointment is made with a reproductive endocrinologist. The first visit with a fertility specialist will usually involve a physical exam and detailed medical history. The doctor may ask questions about the menstrual cycle, whether intercourse has been timed corrected, and how long the couple has tried to conceive. An ultrasound will be performed to check the uterus’s health and ensure no blockages, such as fibroids, are present. Blood work to measure hormone levels will also be ordered.
What about the male partner?
When making a baby, men are half the equation. Sperm health is an important indicator of whether or not a pregnancy is possible. During the RE evaluation, the doctor will also talk to the male partner about having a semen analysis (SA) performed. This test looks at sperm count and mobility. If the results indicate a poor reserve, lifestyle modifications such as losing weight and stopping smoking can help improve sperm quantity and quality.
REs can help
Although the thought of office visits, ultrasounds, and blood work can sound stressful, for many couples, this approach is the best way to get pregnant. After trying to conceive for a year or less in some situations, a reproductive endocrinologist can further assess any underlying problems that may make getting pregnant more difficult. If necessary, the RE may recommend assisted reproductive technology (ART), like in vitro fertilization (IVF), to help the patient successfully build a much-desired family.