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For many couples, there is nothing quite like the excitement and anticipation of starting a family. But if you are like more than 6 million American women who have been trying to conceive without success, the excitement can turn to stress and anxiety. You may start to wonder if it’s time to seek medical help, and who to reach out to—your primary care provider, your OB/GYN, or a fertility specialist? Happily, doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have babies.

When to Seek Help to Become Pregnant

First, know that every situation and couple are different. Talk to your doctor if:

  • You are younger than 35 and have not been able to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse.
  • You are age 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of unprotected intercourse.
  • You have irregular menstrual cycles.
  • You have a history or potential risk for damaged or blocked fallopian tubes.
  • You have a family history of early menopause.
  • You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido.

Assess Your Overall Health Picture

If you are not up to date with your medical and gynecologic screenings, talk with your gynecologist or primary care physician first. Your doctor will assess your overall health and make sure you don’t have any medical problems like diabetes, thyroid disease or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These conditions can impact your chances of becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

When a Fertility Specialist is the Right Choice

If you are current with your medical care, it is reasonable to see a fertility specialist right away, before visiting your primary care physician.

Fertility specialists are physicians who are board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility. They are trained in treating both women and men who are unable to conceive.

A fertility specialist will offer an expert evaluation and testing to help determine the reason you are having difficulty conceiving; then help you decide the treatment path that is right for you.

What You Learn from a Fertility Specialist

Working with a fertility specialist, couples can learn the reasons they are having trouble conceiving. These reasons range from problems with egg or sperm production to hormonal or genetic factors and age.

Many couples will receive normal test results, but unfortunately cannot get pregnant. This is known as unexplained infertility. It is estimated that out of all couples experiencing infertility, up to 30 percent are diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

The good news is that even with unexplained infertility, a fertility specialist can help you discover viable treatment options that can help you begin or grow your family.

Find a fertility specialist to help you explore your options.