Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, conceiving a child is much harder than society makes it out to be. Infertility is still seen as taboo in many societies, but it affects more than one in 10 couples in the United States.
The causes of infertility vary, but one thing remains the same: There is no shame in seeking help. In this article, you’ll learn how to tell if you’re infertile, when you should see a doctor, and what to try before resorting to fertility treatment.
Technically defined, infertility is “the inability of a sexually active, noncontracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year.” This means you and your partner have been attempting to naturally conceive for 12 months, but you’ve not yet become pregnant.
If you’re over the age of 35, infertility is defined as six months of trying but failing to conceive.
You may suspect before one year that you or your partner are infertile, but you can only find out for sure via fertility testing done by an OB/GYN or fertility specialist.
How long you wait to see a specialist about infertility ultimately depends on your personal preference. However, you should know that most insurance companies won’t recognize infertility before 12 or six months, depending on your age. For that reason, most couples are advised to wait to seek testing and treatment, as fertility treatment can be expensive if it’s out of pocket.
Some couples, though, should seek help sooner. Here are some reasons you might want to talk to your doctor before that whole year (or six months) is up:
No matter what, make sure you and your partner are both ready to seek help at the same time. The decision to undergo fertility testing or treatment shouldn’t be made on a whim. Instead, you should have careful, in-depth discussions with your partner about all of the possible outcomes.
You should absolutely track your menstrual cycle for several months before even thinking of getting tested for infertility. To become pregnant, you should have sex while you’re ovulating. Ovulation is the part of a woman’s menstrual cycle during which a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down through the fallopian tube, and becomes ready for fertilization.
During this phase, the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg. If the mature egg isn’t fertilized, the thick uterine lining is shed, which women know as menstruation, or their period.
While it is possible to become pregnant from sexual intercourse at other times in your cycle, it’s unlikely. You are at your most fertile during ovulation. If you’ve been struggling to become pregnant, and you haven’t been tracking your cycles, you should start doing so — this simple tactic could be the only thing you need to finally conceive.
If you track your cycles for several months and still don’t get pregnant, then you can, by all means, seek help.
To learn more about fertility treatment with Alan Patterson, MD, call our office in Coral Springs, Florida, at 954-613-0070 to book an appointment. You can also schedule your appointment online.