When to See a Fertility Specialist
The inability of women to conceive after a year of having unprotected sex, or the inability of women to sustain pregnancy is known as infertility.
Who is at Risk?
Your risk for infertility increases with age. You are at a greater risk if you smoke, consume excess alcohol, or are overweight, obese, or underweight.
When to get Help
You may have reason to be concerned if you have been trying to get pregnant for at least one year and:
- You are in your late 30s and have been trying to get pregnant for six months or longer
- Your menstrual cycles are either irregular or absent
- You have painful periods
- You have a known history of fertility problems
- You have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis
- You have had multiple miscarriages
- You have been treated for cancer with drugs and radiation
What Happens at the Clinic
When you visit your doctor, your medical history and family history will be reviewed, and a thorough physical examination may be performed. Various tests may ordered such as:
- Blood tests measure your hormone levels and determine if you are ovulating.
- Biopsies may be obtained to evaluate the inner lining of your uterus.
- Ovarian reserve testing may be performed to determine the number and quality of eggs ready for ovulation.
- Imaging studies, such as a pelvic ultrasound or hysterosonography, may be performed to obtain a detailed view of your fallopian tubes and uterus.
- Hysterosalpingography involves obtaining an X-ray image after injecting a contrast material into your cervix, which travels up to your fallopian tubes. This can help identify any blockages in your fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopic evaluation involves inserting a thin tube fitted with a camera through an incision in your abdomen to detect any abnormalities in your reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
Your doctor will suggest a treatment suitable for your problem. These may include fertility drugs to stimulate and regulate ovulation, assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), or gestational surrogacy.