If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while now without success, you might be wondering when it’s time to seek a medical opinion. A healthy couple has about a 25 percent chance of conceiving each cycle, so it can normally take at least a few months to get pregnant once you stop using contraception. In fact, 85 percent of couples get pregnant naturally within 12 months of discontinuing birth control. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that a couple see a doctor for fertility evaluation if the woman is younger than age 35 and has been trying to conceive for more than 12 months, or older than age 35 and has been trying to conceive for more than six months. However, couples with specific risk factors such as a history of cancer, irregular menstrual cycles, or chemical exposure may want to seek fertility testing sooner.
The first step in fertility treatment is a full medical exam for both the man and the woman to diagnose possible causes of infertility. This typically includes a semen analysis for the man as well as hormone level testing, a Pap test to check for cervical changes, and exams to test for uterine, cervical, and Fallopian tube abnormalities in the woman.
The type of fertility treatment recommended will depend on the root cause of infertility, though sometimes no underlying cause can be determined. It’s important to keep in mind that fertility treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Oftentimes, a combination of methods is used. It all depends on the unique situation, and that’s why a thorough examination and consultation are so important.
Women ages 20 to 24 have an infertility rate of just 6 percent compared to 64 percent for women ages 40 to 44, which means time is of the essence if you are older than age 35. While most healthy couples are able to conceive, seeing a fertility expert is often an important part of this process, especially for older couples. If you’ve been considering fertility treatments, we warmly invite you to schedule a consultation with our caring and professional team at our sister company, the Advanced Fertility Center. Call 210.616.0680 to schedule an appointment.