Infertility can be a deeply isolating experience, especially when you're peppered with questions about whether or when you're going to have children. Fertility is not magic, though. You won't get pregnant solely because you want to; you won't impregnate your partner if you just try a little harder. Infertility is a medical condition that inevitably has a medical cause. Occasionally, the problem is something as simple as not correctly timing intercourse or misunderstanding how the menstrual cycle works. More typically, fertility issues demand expert treatment.
So when should you seek help? The answer is somewhat subjective. Couples who feel no particular rush may opt to have unprotected sex for a few years, without trying any specific method, before seeking help. Those who are anxious about getting pregnant may pursue a consultation before they even experience issues with fertility. The choice is ultimately up to you. But if you want to maximize your chances of a successful pregnancy, early help is vital. Here's what you need to know.
How Long Should We Try for a Pregnancy?
Most fertility doctors and advocacy organizations recommend trying for no more than a year before seeking help. If the woman is over the age of 35, then seek help after six months.
Seeking Help When You're a Single Parent
If you're planning to become a single parent, you should get a consultation right away -- even if you already have a sperm or egg donor lined up, or are taking a do-it-yourself approach. When you don't have a partner, pregnancy becomes more difficult. It can also be more costly. By testing for and addressing any potential issues early in the process, you increase your odds of a successful pregnancy, and can reduce the chance that you'll spend money on procedures that are doomed to failure.
When There's a Medical Issue
If you know you have a medical issue that might affect fertility, or if you have a previous history of difficulties with fertility, consider seeking assistance immediately. If you'd prefer to try a little longer, seek help after six months. Some conditions that can interfere with fertility include:
- Any hormonal imbalances, particularly low testosterone.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- A previous history of reproductive cancers.
- A history of serious infections, particularly sexually transmitted infections (STI).
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Having three or more miscarriages.
- Having three or more abortions.
- A history of very late periods, or going long periods without having a menstrual cycle.
- Erectile dysfunction that impedes your ability to have intercourse.
- The inability to ejaculate.
- Endocrine system disorders.
- A history of organ transplants.
Why You Shouldn't Wait Too Long to Seek Help
No one likes to admit that they're struggling to create a baby. Perhaps you think you'll deal with this next month, next year, any time but now. Especially if you're worried about money, you might be tempted to delay until you have a hefty nest egg. But your fertility cannot wait.
Both men and women see a precipitous decline in fertility in their late thirties. For some, the decline begins earlier. If you're already struggling to get pregnant, time is of the essence. The underlying cause of your infertility could be getting steadily worse. For instance, pelvic inflammatory disease can quickly progress until it destroys fertility. Likewise, minor hormonal imbalances are easier and cheaper to fix before they have time to throw your entire system out of whack. And if you're suffering from a premature decline in fertility, the longer you wait, the less likely a successful pregnancy will become.
You don't have to spend years waiting. You don't deserve to let money stand in your way. The Center of Reproductive Medicine offers a variety of proven options. We provide compassionate, cutting-edge service and financial counseling that addresses your needs. Let us help you chart a course to parenthood.