It can be incredibly discouraging for couples who have been trying to conceive for some time with no luck. Even if you’ve had previous pregnancies, there are no guarantees that you will not have fertility issues in the future.
Fertility is not just a woman’s issue. Your male partner’s health is also a major consideration for whether you’ll be able to have a child. Infertility affects both men and women, and couples have to work together to find a solution. Below, we outline eight reasons why you, your partner, or both of you might need to see a fertility specialist.
You are 35 or Older
Mother nature has unfortunately given women a deadline for how long our bodies can produce children. While individual factors vary, women over the age of 35 are more likely to experience fertility issues.
As you age, the number of eggs your body produces decreases. This process can speed up as you get older, making it even more difficult the longer you postpone having children.
You Have No Periods or Have Irregular Periods
Absent or infrequent periods could be a sign that something is not working right with your reproductive system.
Irregular ovulation can be a sign of conditions like endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS may produce other systems such as changes in the appearance of your skin or changes in weight. Endometriosis is a blockage in the fallopian tubes and can cause painful periods. A proper medical diagnosis is essential to diagnose any of these conditions.
You’ve Had Previous Miscarriages
Having had a miscarriage before is not necessarily a sign that you’re infertile. But, if you have a history of having more than two miscarriages, it may indicate a problem. There can be many causes for multiple miscarriages, such as infections, hormonal problems, and uterine abnormalities. It will require a further medical evaluation to find the cause.
You’ve Been Trying to Conceive Over A Year
It’s perfectly normal for the conception process to take several months. Most couples will not be able to get pregnant on their first attempt. It might take them between 6-7 months before they get pregnant, or possibly a little longer. But generally, it should take no more than one year.
However, if you and your partner have tried to get pregnant for over a year, it’s time to see a fertility specialist. There may be a problem with your or your partner’s health. In some instances, the problem could relate to both partners.
You Have Children but Can’t Get Pregnant Again
Just like a previous miscarriage doesn’t mean infertility, a previous pregnancy does not mean you cannot be infertile. This one is harder to detect because rooting out the cause depends on whether a specific condition developed or if it’s just a normal part of aging. Just remember, as you get older, your chances of experiencing infertility increase.
Even if you’re under 35 years of age, if you are trying to conceive after a previous successful pregnancy, it could mean that you developed another health condition.
Your Partner Has Erectile Dysfunction
Up to 50% of all cases are attributed to male infertility. Men who experience problems with maintaining an erection or have ejaculation issues could indicate an underlying medical condition. There may be other signs and symptoms that are more obvious, such as a lump in the testicles or other abnormalities that could affect the male reproductive system.
Your Partner Suffered a Past Groin Injury
If your male partner suffered any groin injuries in the past, this could make it more difficult to conceive. Any testicular irregularities can impair male fertility.
Damage to the groin area may include contusions or testicular torsions. Contusions occur when there is damage to the blood vessels. This condition can cause internal bleeding. Torsion occurs when a tube called a spermatic cord gets twisted. Usually, the cause is an injury but it can also happen on its own.
History of STI for Both Partners
A sexually transmitted infection can affect both sexes. For women, current or past untreated STIs can cause conditions like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which is an infection that affects the reproductive organs.
For this reason, it is crucial for anyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly for STIs. Testing is especially important for individuals who plan to have children. Even in males, untreated STIs can render significant consequences on their fertility.
There may be other reasons not on the list that may warrant a visit with a fertility specialist. Even if you have been trying to conceive for less than six months or are planning on starting, it’s important for both partners to consider their medical history. Getting answers beforehand can prepare you for what’s ahead and consider your options.
Infertility is a disheartening thing to face, but it’s not the end of the road. There are fertility treatments and other options, such as surrogacy and egg donation, that enable couples to have children.