Getting pregnant is supposed to be easy, right?
Unfortunately it’s not easy for everyone. One in eight couples will struggle with infertility. When you should involve a fertility specialist depends on your age as well as if you have any obvious obstacles like irregular menses.
First we should explain that trying to conceive means unprotected intercourse on a relatively routine basis. Some couples will come to a fertility specialist and say that they have been having routine unprotected intercourse for the last 5 years, but they have only been “trying” for the last year.
They will go on to say that over the last six months they have been doing basal body temperature charts, ovulation predictor kits and timing intercourse as best they can. It is important to realize that most couples will conceive in the first six to twelve months of having unprotected intercourse and they do not need to go to these lengths in order to conceive. It is typically not necessary to time intercourse perfectly with a positive LH stick or to chart your temperatures, and lying in bed with your legs elevated is also not required! If you have resorted to these measures, something may be wrong.
If you are under the age of 35 and just starting to have unprotected intercourse, then pregnancy should occur within a year. If you are not pregnant in a year’s time, then it’s time to see a fertility specialist. If you are over the age of 35 and just starting to have unprotected intercourse, then it’s okay to try for six months. If pregnancy does not occur in six months, a fertility evaluation should begin. This is because fertility declines as a woman ages, so time is more precious. If it’s been longer than six to twelve months (depending on your age), then it is time to come in for a consultation and evaluation.
The six months over 35 and one year under 35 rule does not apply to everyone, however. Regular ovulation results in monthly menstrual cycles, meaning you should start your period every 24 to 35 days. If your cycle is not this regular, then you may not be ovulating and you should have an evaluation to find out why and what treatments can be started to help you with ovulation. Also, if you have a history of a medical problem or exposure that is likely to reduce your fertility, you should seek help earlier. For example, if you have had chemotherapy in the past or have been diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis, you should consider seeking help right away or sooner than what is recommended above.
Need some professional advice? Contact Texas Fertility Center San Antonio or our Austin Fertility Center for help!