How do I know if I am infertile? 

After one year of well-timed intercourse, approximately 85% of couples will have conceived. The majority (72%) conceive within six months. By definition, 15% of couples who are not pregnant at the end of the year is termed infertile. This definition is generally altered to six months of attempting pregnancy in women over age the age of 35.

What causes infertility? 

The causes of infertility can be grouped into general categories of: ovulatory abnormalities (polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal imbalances, perimenopause), anatomical factors (blocked fallopian tubes, pelvic adhesions, uterine or cervical abnormalities) or malefactor. Approximately 10% of couples have “unexplained infertility.” This term is used for couples who have normal evaluations but are infertile. Most causes of infertility can be overcome.

When should I see a reproductive endocrinologist for diagnosis and treatment of infertility?

Many gynecologists are expert at the diagnosis and initial treatment of infertility. Generally, consultations are recommended for women over 35, when a member of the couple has a significant underlying medical condition, or when a diagnosis has not been determined. Later, a referral is indicated for a couple undergoing treatment for six months without conception.

What happens at an initial infertility consultation?

The goal of the initial consultation is to begin a supportive, working relationship, to review past infertility history, to review treatment options, and to establish short-term and long-term treatment plans.

What can be done to find the cause of infertility?

The investigation to find the cause of infertility generally has two levels. The first level consists of a semen analysis, confirmation of ovulation and ensuring that the fallopian tubes and uterine cavity are normal. For some, additional testing is required, such as laparoscopy, further hormonal testing, more advances in sperm testing or evaluation of sperm, egg, and/or embryo quality.

If no cause for infertility is found during my evaluation, do I have any hope of having a baby? 

When no cause of infertility can be established, the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” is given. In general, most couples with persistence will eventually be successful. For example, the use of CLOMIPHENE CITRATE and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) results in pregnancy rates of about 8% per cycle, injectable fertility medication (GONADOTROPINS) and IUI have rates of about 16-18% per cycle, and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) about 40% per cycle for couples with unexplained infertility.