Fertility Concerns

When To See Your Doctor

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If you are under 35, it's recommended that you see a doctor after one year of trying for a baby if you haven't conceived. Trying for a baby in this context means having regular sex (2-3 times a week) without contraception. For couples where the woman is 35 or over, it's recommended that you see a doctor after 6 months of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. This is because women over 35 are more likely to experience fertility problems, and the sooner any problems are diagnosed, the sooner treatment can be given.

If you have to visit your doctor for fertility issues, you won't necessarily have to have fertility treatment. While 80% of couples get pregnant within a year of trying, 95% of couples get pregnant within 2 years, so it may just be a waiting game. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action.

There are some circumstances where you should seek help sooner than generally advised, for example, if you suspect you or your partner may have fertility problems. Conditions that can affect fertility include:

  • Having had STD's such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea
  • Having had previous ectopic pregnancies or recurrent miscarriages (3 or more in a row)
  • Having menstrual cycles that are less than 21 days or over 35 days long
  • Having endometriosis, fibroids or polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Or chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

You and your partner should both attend, as the doctor will want to ask you both questions about your health, lifestyle, and medical history. Your doctor is likely to then order tests to rule out STD's, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, which can affect fertility, and perform a blood test to check your hormones levels. Your doctor can also perform tests to check that you are ovulating normally, and a test to check your partner's sperm count. See our article Fertility tests to find out more about what to expect.

What happens next?

Your doctor's advice will depend on a variety of factors, such as your test results, your age, your health, medical history, and lifestyle. If your hormones, ovulation test, STD test and your partner's sperm count are all normal, then your doctor might advise that you carry on trying to conceive naturally for a while longer before seeking fertility treatment.

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This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.