How do we define infertility and when should a couple seek advice and treatment to aid in a successful pregnancy?
The common, textbook definition of infertility is the inability to conceive after one year without contraception. However, many factors affect this definition and an earlier evaluation may be recommended. The first and by far the most important modifying factor is the woman’s age. Fertility rates decline with age so significantly that we often propose evaluation after six months of trying if the woman is 35 years or older. This fact unfortunately has not changed despite years of research and new treatments. We therefore counsel patients and referring physicians to help initiate intervention at the earliest possible time.
Other issues may be apparent or previously diagnosed by your primary physician. For example, patients may have known pelvic conditions, previous surgeries, known endometriosis, or prior infections that may require correction. In addition, if your cycles are irregular there is no reason to wait, since we would immediately begin treatment to improve your ovulation.
Obviously if either of the couple has any significant medical conditions, or has undergone chemotherapy, we would initiate an early evaluation as well.
Infertility is common, affecting approximately 15% of couples – so you’re not alone. It is also highly emotional, stressful, frustrating (and these are just a few of the emotions). We are happy to see you to offer reassurance and propose a treatment plan.