Don’t Ignore the Signs of Infertility: What to do if you think you’re infertile
If you’ve found this blog post through a search engine, then it’s likely you found me because you or someone close to you is having trouble getting pregnant. First let me express how sorry I am that you’re having these troubles. I’ve been there and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I hope that you’re able to conceive a healthy baby very soon 🙂 If you would like to learn more about my personal struggle with infertility and miscarriage you can read about it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6
You’ve been trying to conceive and have so far been unsuccessful. You think that there might be a problem. Don’t ignore the signs of infertility. What should you do if you think you may be infertile?
Are you infertile?
*The couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34.
*The couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is over the age of 35.
(Some exceptions are made despite age if the woman has a history of irregular cycles or other issues.)
Womenshealth.gov / Dr. Oz / Pregnancy etc / Moms Who Think
What to do if you think you’re infertile
If you’re very concerned and are really ready to take some action now, my advice would be:
1. Make an appointment with an urologist right away: Most urologists will do the Semen Analysis regardless of how long you’ve been trying and without any recommendation from an OB. Have your husband get a SA and maybe a Prostate Exam done. I recommend getting the SA through the urologist vs the OB as they’re much more experienced in handling the “man stuff”. My husband had the test done twice, once at the ob and once at the urologist, and we found the urologist to be much more helpful and informative regarding the SA.
2. Make an appointment with your regular OBGYN for 2-3 months from now. You can let them know ahead of time that you wish to discuss trying to conceive and potential infertility.
3. For the next 2-3 months do an ovulation predictor kit (they tell you to stop testing once you detect the LH Surge…but I say, keep taking the test until you run out of pee sticks!) and keep track of the beginning and end of your cycle and maybe your mucus ( 😉 fun, fun!)
4. Forget about charting your temperatures if you haven’t been charting them already. You need to chart temps for an extended period of time in order to detect a pattern. If you have already been charting temps but it’s stressing you out..stop. Many doctors aren’t concerned with your temp charts anyway (some won’t even look at them).
5. Familiarize yourself with the infertility tests that I’ve mentioned below. The more knowledgeable you are on the subject, the tests, and your options, the more likely it is that the doctor will take your concerns seriously and you won’t feel as overwhelmed when they’re explaining tests and options to you at your appointment.
6. Familiarize yourself with the forms of treatment that may be necessary if a problem is found (such as Clomid, IVF, etc.) and have a discussion with your husband. What are the two of you willing to do, how far are you willing to go, and how long are you willing to try? This way if you’re involved in treatment you know when to tell the doctor “no” to certain options and that you’d rather try something else. You and your husband need to be on the same page so that it doesn’t cause more stress if one of you has had enough.
7. Tell your OBGYN your concerns and request urine and blood tests (and a SA if you didn’t get it done at the urologist). After that you and your doctor can decide if you want to continue any further testing. If you want tests, I’m pretty sure that they can’t deny you if you ask for them. The tests can be done by a regular OBGYN. You shouldn’t need a fertility doctor unless you are undergoing certain kinds of treatment. Typically if a problem is found after one test, they’ll work on that issue before moving on to any other testing.
If you have not yet been trying to conceive for year and the doctors refuse to do anything until then, you have two options:
1. Wait until it’s been a year
2. Continue to seek out different doctors.
Starting the dialogue with your doctor and completing some of the less invasive testing can help get you a head start if you’re still experiencing problems at the one year mark.
I have personally had all of the below tests done except for #5 and #6 (and 2, of course, since that was hubby’s test). You can read more about that here
Here’s a list with links about different infertility testing
1. Blood and urine tests for you more here and here
(To see if you’re ovulating and check different hormone levels)
2. Semen Analysis (SA) and Prostate Exam for your husband
(An infected prostate can lower sperm count. This can be corrected with some antibiotics and may also require a slight change in diet.)
3. Endometrial Biopsy
(Where they scrape out a sample of uterine lining for testing)
(An x-ray where they shoot dye through your fallopian tubes to see if there’s any blockage)
5. Post-coital Test (PCT)
(I recommend getting the SA results before the PCT as it won’t make much difference if you’re working with unhealthy sperm)
(Should be “last resort” testing after all others)
If someone close to you is struggling to conceive, I urge you to educate yourself on infertility, the tests, the problems, the treatments (What is infertility?) . This will make it easier to understand what your loved one is talking about and hopefully help you to relate to their situation a little better.
*Infertility Myth Busted: Just Relax!
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Trying to Conceive: Take 1
*My First Pregnancy
*Trying to Conceive: Take 2
*Trying to Conceive: Take 3 Secondary Infertility
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan:
Why we named the baby we miscarried
*My Mother’s Day Gift
*National Infertility Awareness Week 2011