Trying to have a baby can bring feelings of joy and anticipation about expanding your family. But when conception doesn’t happen right away, it’s easy to start worrying about infertility.
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“By definition, infertility is failure to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse,” says infertility specialist Jeffrey M. Goldberg, MD. “If pregnancy hasn’t been achieved in one year, it’s time to consult an infertility specialist.”
Infertility affects about 15% (1 in every 6 or 7) of reproductive age couples.
While most couples should consult a doctor after a year of trying, Dr. Goldberg says some should see an infertility specialist sooner. Women who are 35 or older should be evaluated after trying for only six months since age-related decline in fertility is more rapid in the mid to late 30s and 40s. While a fertile 30-year-old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant during each cycle, by age 40 those chances have dropped to about 5%.
Others who should see a doctor sooner than a year are:
Although not an infertility problem, women who have had two or more miscarriages should also seek help.
Since infertility involves two patients, finding a potential cause(s) requires tests for both partners. These may include:
The infertility specialist uses these findings to recommend a path toward conception, which may include:
Your doctor can help you decide the best way to proceed with your plan to have a baby.