When trying to conceive “the old-fashioned way” may not be enough

| Posted On Apr 25, 2011 | By:

couple meetuing with a doctor about having a babyBabies!  It seems as though they’re everywhere and that a different friend or relative calls you every week to announce her pregnancy.  If you’re “trying” and it hasn’t happened yet, it’s easy to feel alone, but you’re not.  

The majority of people trying to conceive will do so in the first six months of trying, but up to 1 in 6 couples will have difficulty conceiving (meaning not achieving a pregnancy in one year of unprotected intercourse).  And while about 85% of couples will conceive within one year, the likelihood of getting pregnant in an individual month is only about 20-30%. 

Most women under 35 who don’t have an existing medical condition which would impede conception are generally advised to try getting pregnant “the old-fashioned way” for about a year before seeing a doctor.  But if you’re over 35 years old, you might consider seeing a doctor after about 6 months of trying (as fertility, unfortunately, declines with age).  Other reasons to see a doctor earlier include if you or your partner has a history of a medical problem that could have affected fertility (cancer, previous surgery, genetic disorder, etc.), if you’re not having regular periods (meaning that you’re likely not ovulating), or if you’ve had two or more miscarriages. 

Most general Ob/Gyns will be able to answer your questions about the optimal time during your menstrual cycle to get pregnant.  They can also answer questions about and perform a basic fertility evaluation.  This usually consists of some basic testing, including an x-ray test to see if your Fallopian tubes are open, some hormonal testing for your ovaries, and checking your partner’s sperm count. 

If you do end up needing fertility treatments, your Ob/Gyn will usually send you to see someone like me and my colleagues at Harvard Vanguard’s Center for Fertility and Reproductive Health.  We are all specialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (“REI”), which means we have spent an additional three years in training (after becoming an Ob/Gyn) and specialize in the management of fertility and reproductive disorders. In addition to helping heterosexual couples with infertility issues, we also see same-sex couples or single women seeking to become parents. 

Depending on what the initial testing shows, we will be able to talk with you about why you haven’t conceived yet and recommend possible treatment options.  Sometimes the initial testing doesn’t show that anything is wrong, in which case you may be diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.”  Although it’s unsatisfying to not know the cause, there are plenty of treatment options for couples with this diagnosis as well. 

Millions of women have achieved pregnancies and families through the help of specialists and the use of fertility medications, inseminations, assisted reproductive technologies (such as in vitro fertilization) or adoption.  If you need to embark on this process, please learn more about our team here and how we can help.  There is also a lot of support available for you along the way (check out http://www.resolve.org/).  And know that once you have the family you dreamed of, the path you took to get there won’t matter much in comparison.

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About Dr. Christine Skiadas

Dr. Christine Skiadas is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and a subspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. A native of Boston’s South Shore, she received her medical degree from The University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the combined residency program of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has presented at multiple international conferences and is a published author on numerous topics including embryo selection and single embryo transfer. Dr. Skiadas prioritizes the patient experience, delivering focused medical care with a personalized, caring approach to treatment. In addition, she is skilled in robotic surgical techniques and can provide her patients with the highest level of modern, operative care.



    Comment by DAVID GOLDWASSER on April 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

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