Do I have a fertility problem?

The most commonly accepted definition of infertility is failure to conceive over one year of unprotected intercourse. This will happen to 10 to 15% of couples, and presumes that you have intercourse frequently enough to have the sperm and egg meet.

How often is that?

If you have regular periods every twenty eight to thirty days, ovulation should occur around day fourteen to sixteen. (Day one is the first day of your period.) It may be that you only need to pay closer attention to sex every other day beginning around day 12.

Sperm will live in the tubes for three to five days waiting for an egg to pop out. I have had many couples having problems who succeeded just by changing their timing of sex.

It takes longer to conceive when you are older. After 35 it is not uncommon to take 8 to 12 months to conceive. Earlier in life it is common in the first 3 to 6 months. 

What should I be doing? 

If you think you may have a fertility problem, keep track of your periods and mark when you had intercourse. 40% of fertility problems are male, and it might be worth going ahead and getting a semen analysis done through his family doctor. He needs to abstain from ejaculation for 48 hours prior to providing the sample.

Many men have problems with their virility and egos all tied up in their sperm counts. Be sensitive in how you approach the topic, and tell him that you will be going to the gynecologist after the results are obtained. Feel free to bring him along to the initial consultation.

The basic evaluation is fairly simple to understand. There have to be sperm of good quality. They have to meet with the egg at the right time. The passageway (cervix, uterus, and tubes) must be open. And finally the uterus must be able to accept the fertilized egg. There are tests to address each of these steps.

Call and make an appointment to discuss your situation. It doesn't hurt to take a few of the above mentioned steps to get a head start. Don't keep basal body temps. It creates too much stress. Stress and anxiety are among the hardest of things to deal with is these situations. We can check for ovulation by measuring blood tests for progesterone. Good luck. It will happen.

Dr. Paul Daum, M.D. Provides Complete OB/GYN Services

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