When It's Time for Fertility Testing

How do you know when it's time to start fertility testing? In general, testing is recommended after six months of trying to get pregnant in women over the age of 35, and after a year in women under age 35. Blood tests, ovulation tracking, and many other methods can be used to help detect the cause of your infertility. Your partner's semen may need to be tested as well.

Why Can't I Get Pregnant?

Many women work hard for many years to avoid getting pregnant. However, when the day comes that they want to have a child, getting pregnant might not be as easy as they thought. This can be worrisome, especially after trying for a couple of months without success. What's going on?
Unfortunately, conceiving a child is not easy for every couple. For some couples, it may just take a little longer. However, other couples may have underlying issues that are preventing them from becoming pregnant. It may seem reasonable to think that the month after you stop contraception, pregnancy will occur. In reality, however, the statistics show that a healthy, fertile 30-year old woman has around a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle while actually trying.
Every woman is different, and every cycle is different, so if you are becoming frustrated with trying to get pregnant, it's important to know when it's time to just be patient and keep trying, and when it may be time for fertility testing.

When Is It Time for Fertility Testing?

If you rush to your healthcare provider after not being able to get pregnant after a couple of months, he or she will likely tell you to be patient. You may also receive some tips on how to chart your cycle, including ways to test for the optimal times when ovulation is likely to occur. However, at this point, your healthcare provider will not likely start testing to see if anything is preventing you or your partner from being able to conceive a child.
Research has shown that up to 92 percent of women will conceive within the first year of trying if they track their cycle and have sexual intercourse at the optimal times. Although it can be difficult and frustrating to wait that long, charting your fertility and having sex during "fertile" days are the best chances for you to conceive as quickly as possible. Try not to become discouraged yet and just give it a little more time.
However, if it has been at least six cycles without a positive pregnancy test, you may need to consult your healthcare provider. In some cases, he or she may recommend trying for another six months. Many healthcare providers may not be concerned unless you have been trying to conceive for at least a year if you are younger than 35 years old.
However, if you are over the age of 35 and have been trying for six months, your healthcare provider may advise that it is time to do some fertility tests, because the older you get, the harder it becomes to get pregnant. Also, if you are over the age of 30 and have a history of painful periods, miscarriage, pelvic inflammatory disease, irregular cycles, or if you know your partner may have some sperm problems, you may not need to wait a year to consult your healthcare provider.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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