When is It Time to See an Infertility Specialist?


The decision to start a family is sometimes made with a good deal of nervousness and trepidation but, mostly, it’s a time of joy and wondrous expectation for couples, regardless of their age. So when pregnancy doesn’t happen in a reasonable timeframe, it’s often a crushing disappointment and couples must then decide how to proceed.

So, when is it time to go to a doctor and get help?

Time to See an Infertility Specialist?Technically, infertility is characterized as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. This will happen to about one in every 6 or 7 couples that are trying to start a family. At that point, it’s perfectly acceptable to consider an appointment with an experienced infertility specialist who can examine both members of the couple, make diagnoses, and eventually suggest ways to address the infertility so that conception happens.

But there are some patients that should potentially head to a specialist sooner rather than later.

Women who are over 35 – Many experts suggest that women who are older than 35 should see a specialist after 6 unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant. The reason why is that age-related decline in fertility happens more quickly in the late 30s into the 40s. As a matter of fact, a 30-year-old healthy woman has about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant during each cycle, but that number drops to 5 percent when a woman reaches age 40.

  • Women who have a history of endometriosis – If a woman has had endometriosis, pelvic infections, or any kind of pelvic scarring, conception could be difficult and a specialist should be seen after 6-8 months.
  • Women whose menstrual cycle is irregular – If this is a problem or if the menstrual cycle is absent for more than a few months without pregnancy, an examination is essential as ovulation likely isn’t happening.
  • Women who have had an ectopic pregnancy – This is another reason to seek help and advice sooner rather than later.
  • Men who have erectile or ejaculatory problems – This also includes men who have had an abnormal semen analysis.
  • Anyone who is going to be requiring a sperm donor – Single women who are seeking to get pregnant via a donor should plan far in advance of the time in which they wish to become pregnant.

Once a couple makes a decision that it’s time to see an infertility specialist, they should understand that it’s still likely to take time to get pregnant.

Both partners must be evaluated and, once that’s done, the doctor will make suggestions that will hopefully result in a pregnancy, which might include things like drugs that promote ovulation, suggestions for lifestyle changes that might be impeding fertility (like smoking and obesity), or procedures like artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization.

Trust that the specialist is indeed an expert in their field, so heed his/her advice and be patient with the process.

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