How long should I try to get pregnant before going to a fertilty clinic?

Q: My partner and I have started trying to conceive…how long should we keep trying before going to a fertility clinic?  

A: Seeing a specialist sooner in your journey can greatly improve chances of success.

But, it can be tough to know just how long you should wait for nature to work in your favor before going to a fertility clinic. Start by learning when your best time is to conceive by identifying days in your cycle that offer the highest likelihood of success.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends women in good health and without any known risk factors see a fertility specialist if you have not conceived after trying for 12 months, or 6 months for women over the age of 35. However, if a woman has a general concern or wants piece of mind, there is no reason to wait.

Risk factors

Women with known risk factors, such as a history of tubal disease or STD’s, should see a fertility specialist before trying to conceive to monitor these risk factors.  Other risk factors include scar tissue from previous pelvic surgery, endometriosis, irregular or no menstrual periods, or known birth defects. In addition, if your male partner has a history of mumps orchitis or was born with undescended testes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and obtain a semen analysis to attain a sperm count.

Women with difficulty conceiving after having one or more children and women who have had more than one miscarriage should also consider seeing a specialist. Your doctor may recommend testing for conditions known to increase the risk of a recurrent miscarriage, some of which can be surgically corrected.

Meanwhile, any woman or couple planning a pregnancy should see an Ob/Gyn or primary care doctor for prenatal counseling. Your doctor may recommend daily folic acid supplements to minimize the likelihood of neural tube defects, genetic screening for lethal hereditary disorders, and identify risk factors for complications based on personal health status and medical history.

— Mylene W. M. Yao, M.D., Co-founder and CEO, Univfy Fertility Prediction

Dr. Yao has over fifteen years of experience in research in reproductive medicine, and embryo and uterine biology with publications in clinical and basic science research journals, including Fertility and Sterility, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Endocrinology, Developmental Biology, and Molecular Systems Biology.

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