When a couple first starts trying to conceive, it is exciting. It is usually fun, lighthearted and brings with it the joy of anticipation. After a few months, that excitement can turn to angst, frustration and fear.
Let me start by saying, I see patients at all different stages of their fertility journey. I see couples who have not even started trying yet or those who have been trying for over a decade, I see single women interested in having a child through donor sperm, I see same sex couples interested in shared conception. You name it, I have patients that have come to see me to discuss it.
So, when is the right time to see a fertility specialist? In order to properly answer that question, I need to address a couple of important points.
- Infertility affects one in eight couples. Yes, you read that correct – 12% of couples who are trying to have a baby will be diagnosed with infertility. What is even more startling is that as the age of the female partner increases, this rate of infertility increases as well.
- Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. The quantifier of unprotected intercourse is a major point. You do not to be “actively” trying to conceive (ie. timing intercourse, ovulation predictor kits, etc.) before the definition applies to you.
Given the definition of infertility and the further increased risk with increasing female age, the recommendation to see a fertility specialist is based on the female partner’s age.
If <35 years old, you should schedule an appointment if you have been trying for 12 months or longer.
If 35 or older, you should schedule a consultation if you have been trying for 6 months or longer.
Why the time difference based on age? I see a future post coming …
If you are interested in seeing me as a patient in Houston, Texas, please call my office, The Center Reproductive Medicine at 713-790-9900.