You want a baby. You have a loving partner and a stable job and you’re emotionally ready. It’s time, but you’ve been trying for awhile and so far: nothing. You begin questioning if you're struggling with infertility. So, what do you do next? Don’t worry, though because you're not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Plenty of families find success thanks to all of the assisted reproductive technology available today.
The ideal candidate for help with infertility is any couple over 40, couples over 35 who have been unsuccessfully trying for over six months, and couples under 35 who have been unsuccessfully trying for over a year. If you fit the bill, you should start seriously considering seeing a fertility specialist-- that is if you haven't already started considering. Here's a few reasons why you might need the assistance of a fertility specialist.
“About a quarter of women who struggle with infertility have ovulation disorders, making them one of the top causes of difficulty conceiving,” says Laurence A. Jacobs, MD. This means if you’ve had irregular periods, there might be something abnormal going on with your ovulation. Don’t panic. It doesn’t always mean it’s more difficult to get pregnant. It might just be about getting the timing right--timing is key!
Endometriosis is a painful disease in which uterine lining grows in places it shouldn’t, and “unfortunately, as many as half of women struggling with infertility, and up to 10 percent of all women suffer from [endometriosis],” says Jacobs. So, if you have irregular periods and/or unnaturally painful cramps, see your gynecologist.
Things that may have happened in your past could definitely cause some problems getting pregnant. If you or your partner have had more than three miscarriages, genital infections or pelvic inflammatory disease, irregular periods, undescended testicles, or a DES mother (a mother who took diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy - a synthetic estrogen), you should see a fertility specialist to discuss the best course of action for getting pregnant.
Family or personal history of polycystic ovarian syndrome or premature ovarian failure can also be a factor, says Serena H. Chen, MD, as well as any history of tubal problems (like blocked fallopian tubes or an ectopic pregnancy).
You should see your primary care doctor and/or your gynecologist before seeking out a fertility specialist. There are plenty of lifestyle factors (stress level, diet, intercourse, etc.) that can help you get pregnant. There are plenty of options available to you today, from medications, IVF, insemination, and donors. Don’t worry, artificial insemination can be the right option for you.