Infertility: How to Start the Process of Finding Answers

Infertility: How to Start the Process of Finding Answers

Many couples decide to have a baby and never once stop to imagine it won't happen. When several months go by and they’re still not pregnant, frustration and worry take hold, turning what was once an exciting future into incredible stress.  

The circumstances are different for women diagnosed with a gynecologic condition, same-sex couples, and singles. They decide to have a baby knowing they will need extra support and guidance. But their journey causes similar stress and fears.

No matter what you face, you're not alone. Anyone who struggles with infertility or needs help building a family can count on compassionate care from reproductive expert Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD.

Dr. Meng encourages you to call any time you have questions or can't conceive. She also offers these guidelines, giving you a path to follow when pregnancy seems elusive.

Know when to schedule an infertility evaluation

On average, it takes 6-12 months for most women to get pregnant. It takes time because conception and pregnancy depend on a multitude of variables, ranging from the timing of sex (you only have a 24-hour window to fertilize the egg) to the reproductive health of both partners.

Despite the many variables, we have guidelines about when you should schedule an infertility evaluation. Our recommendations are based on key factors affecting fertility:

Woman's age

A woman's age has a huge impact on fertility. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and as they get older, the number and quality of their remaining eggs progressively drops.

A woman's ability to get pregnant declines after the age of 35. After 40, their chances get lower with every passing month.

For this reason, you should call and schedule an evaluation when you're younger than 35 and tried getting pregnant for one year. If you're 35-40, you should schedule an appointment after trying for six months.

And if you're over 40, don't wait. Get a complete exam as soon as you decide you want to have a baby.

Medical conditions affecting fertility

You should schedule an exam as early as possible if you know (or suspect) you have a medical condition that affects fertility. Examples of common problems include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

An early evaluation gives us the ability to treat the condition or suggest alternatives before you spend months trying to get pregnant.

Repeated miscarriages

If you experienced more than one miscarriage, we can do a thorough exam and run genetic tests if needed to determine the reason for your miscarriages. Armed with that information, we can recommend safe, successful ways to have a baby.

Compromised ovarian reserve

Your ovarian reserve refers to the number of healthy eggs in your ovaries. Beyond age, other health concerns affect your ovarian reserve. For example, having ovarian surgery, a family history of early menopause, or cancer treatments have an impact. The sooner you get an evaluation, the better your chances are of getting pregnant.

Singles and same-sex couples

We fully support family building for everyone and offer a spectrum of services including sperm donation, egg donation, in vitro fertilization, and gestational surrogacy.

Learn your fertility challenges

During your infertility evaluation, we perform a physical exam and extensive testing to find out why you can't get pregnant. For men, the first step is a semen analysis to measure the number of sperm and identify problems with sperm. For example, some sperm may not be able to move properly.

Women have a pelvic exam, ultrasound imaging, and blood tests to detect ovarian reserves and determine levels of key hormones. If we don't find a problem, we move on to procedures that allow us to examine the structures inside your body.

We may verify your fallopian tubes are open, examine the inside of your uterus, or insert a scope through your abdomen to view your pelvic cavity and the outer uterine wall.

About one-third of the time, there can be a problem with the male partner and one-third of the time a problem arises in the female partner. In the remaining third, the reason for infertility can’t be found. In all three cases, we offer solutions that help you build your family.

We work closely with you to explain your treatment and fertility options and help you decide the next step. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an infertility evaluation, call Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, or request an appointment online today.

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