Diagnosing Infertility FAQ
What is involved with the infertility evaluation?
The real answer is it depends on your personal medical situation and what has been done before you come to SRM. The standard work up involves ovarian reserve testing, specifically an ultrasound and hormonal blood tests during your period, a semen analysis, a radiologic imaging study to see if your tubes are open, and a luteal phase hormonal test to check progesterone levels.
How long will it take to figure out what the problem is?
The above workup, if all done diligently in one menstrual cycle will take about 4-8 weeks depending on when you presented to SRM. A follow up visit and or discussion is required to pool all the results and discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual situation. A piecemeal discussion as each test is performed is not recommended as infertility is oftentimes due to not just one problem but a combination of several problems. A discussion after all tests are done is best.
How long should I "just keep trying"?
If the female is less than 35 years old, one year of trying before coming to see an SRM physician. If the female is over 35, six months of trying is appropriate before coming to see a SRM physician. This recommendation is in accordance with the American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines. This emphasizes the impact that female age has on a couple's ability to conceive.
I've heard about couples get pregnant when they quit "trying", is there any truth to this?
The simple answer is no. It does not mean it happens though. However, this statement comes from what the medical field calls "selection bias". Couples will only talk about their success in getting pregnant, but not their failures. If the data is gathered appropriately, the latter situation will be more common.
My husband (wife) has children from a prior relationship; doesn't that prove that they don't have fertility issues?
Absolutely not. The age issue looms large and secondary infertility (infertility after having children) is more common than primary infertility (infertility with no children) The distinction is clinically insignificant. Recent miscarriages also should not be looked at as reassuring. The ability to keep a pregnancy is as much a sign of an age issue and egg quality issue as the inability to get pregnant.
Does my partner need to be at the initial appointment?
We encourage but do not require the partner at the initial appointment. Often times the partner has many questions as well. It is best they get answered real time at the initial appointment rather than one partner trying to speculate what the SRM physician will answer.
When do I know it's time to see a specialist?
If you are asking the question, it is probably time to make the appointment. Fertility is so dependant on time and your age, all of what the SRM physician cannot get back. If you want success to occur, and with the most conservative therapy available, the sooner the better.