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Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of unprotected intercourse. If you have been trying to conceive for a year or more and have not achieved pregnancy, you should consider a fertility evaluation. If you are 35 or older and have not achieved pregnancy after 6 months of trying you should schedule an evaluation now.

Infertility is fairly common, affecting 1 out of every 7 couples. It can lead to feelings of anger, frustration and sadness. A basic infertility evaluation begins with a detailed medical history and review of your symptoms. If you are experiencing painful periods you may have a condition known as endometriosis. If you have long, irregular cycles you may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Both endometriosis and PCOS account for many cases of infertility. 

In addition to a detailed medical history, a physical exam, including a pelvic and breast exam, is performed. Testing for the female partner includes blood testing for ovarian function and reserve. An X-ray test called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) will also be performed to check for blockage of your fallopian tubes  or a defect in the uterine cavity. Male factor infertility accounts for 45% of infertility. A semen analysis will check for abnormalities with the sperm count, volume, appearance and motility. 

Even after a full evaluation, 30% of couples will have unexplained infertility. These couples are referred to a specialist called a Reproductive Endocrinologist and may still have success even if the cause is never determined. 

Important to know: most couples that do seek fertility treatments do end up becoming pregnant. Fertility treatments include but are not limited to the use of tablets to stimulate ovulation, injectable medicines, use of a sperm or egg donor, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

If you and your partner are experiencing infertility you should call your OB/GYN  provider today to schedule a consultation. Do not delay as the sooner you present for evaluation, the higher the chance of achieving pregnancy! 

See also:  ReproductiveFacts.org