Are your failed attempts at getting pregnant starting to make you nervous? Odds are everything is fine, but it’s worth checking into. The statistics tell us that roughly 12% to 15% of individuals/couples have some type of fertility factor that makes it difficult to get pregnant and/or carry a full-term pregnancy.
We recommend looking into potential infertility causes if:
- You’re 35-years or younger and have tried to get pregnant for 12-months or longer without success.
- You’re 36-40-years or older and have tried to get pregnant for 6-months or longer without success
If you’re 41-years or older and have tried for 3-months or more without conceiving, it’s best to get a referral to a fertility specialist.
We recommend reading: Timing Intercourse for Pregnancy (if you’re waiting to ovulate,
it’s already too late!), and 10 Signs You Should Consider Infertility Testing, to see if there is cause for concern.
Basic fertility testing provided by your OB/GYN is the first step in determining whether an infertility factor is at work. If tests aren’t conclusive, or you are diagnosed with a fertility factor – we may start out offering first-line fertility treatments (typically oral fertility meds) or refer you to a fertility specialist for more thorough evaluation.
NOTE: Your partner should be tested too. Male infertility factors are just as common as female factors, so you aren’t the only one who should be examined and tested. Have your partner schedule an appointment with his GP for a thorough physical and a sperm evaluation.
What are Basic Fertility Tests Provided by an OB/GYN?
If you’re having a difficult time conceiving, there are a few basic fertility tests we can use to see if there’s an obvious cause.
A thorough review of your personal and family medical history
While we already have much of this information on file, your inability to conceive will initiate a more rigorous “investigation.” This is no time to hold back because every piece of information matters – even things that may seem embarrassing to you (like that unprotected, promiscuous and/or experimental phase in your 20s…) We’ll ask you lots of detailed questions to determine:
- If you’ve had STDs that may have compromised fertility
- An irregular menstruation pattern that has always seemed “normal”
- A family history of infertility problems, genetic/chromosomal conditions, or repeat miscarriages
These are all good places to start.
We’ll do a blood panel to see if everything looks normal and to check hormone balances. Your blood has lots of important information pertaining to your overall health – so a latent infection or deficiency of some kind could be a problem.
An ultrasound and/or other imaging tools
If you have undiagnosed endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS or other conditions that alter the tissue layers in your reproductive organs, we’ll probably be able to tell via ultrasound or other imaging technology. We also look for other anatomical abnormalities, such as excessive scar tissue, blockages or other features, that are preventing conception or healthy implantation/fetal development.
These imaging tools can be very revealing, but they may not be enough to detect this type of infertility factor, and that’s where more specific tests via a fertility specialist come into play.
We may also use laparoscopic exploration to get a better look at the internal, reproductive organs – and if we find something obvious that can be treated, we’ll do it then and there or schedule a follow-up appointment. Some of the conditions treated this way include endometriosis, scar tissue/blockages and fibroid tumors.
If we’re not able to find the cause using basic fertility testing, we’ll refer you to a nearby fertility specialist for further evaluation.