What is Infertility

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How do I Know if I Have an Infertility Problem?

Is infertility a "woman's" problem?

Infertility is a medical problem. Approximately 30% of infertility is due to female factor and 30% is due to male factor. In the balance of the cases, infertility results from problems in both partners or the cause of the infertility is "unexplained".

At what time of the month is a woman most fertile?

The day you start your menstrual period is "Day 1." Around "Day 14" you may ovulate and release an egg. The egg is viable for 24 hours; this is your most fertile time. However, not all women ovulate on "Day 14." Some ovulate earlier and some later. Some women do not ovulate at all. Your ovulation pattern can vary month to month. Even if you are getting your period, that does not mean you are ovulating. Read more about Ovulation here.

How can a woman tell when she ovulates?

One way of determining when you ovulate is to take your basal body temperature every morning and record it on a chart. Three or four months should be adequate to share with your doctor. You can also buy an ovulation predictor kit.

How often should we have intercourse?

Sperm can live for approximately 48 hours in the woman's reproductive tract. It is important to have sexual intercourse at this time. It is a good idea to have intercourse every other day around the time you ovulate. (Day 10, 12, 14, and 16.) Remember that every woman ovulates at a different time. To increase your chances of becoming pregnant, do not douche or use lubricants immediately before or after intercourse.

How long should we try before we see a doctor?

Most physicians advise you not to be concerned unless you have been trying to conceive for at least one year and are under 35. If you are over 35 and have been trying for 6 months, you should consult a physician. If you are over 30 and have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular cycles, or if you know that your partner has a low sperm count, do not wait one year. Consult your ob/gyn.

Many couples have a difficult time admitting there may be a problem. After each menstrual cycle there is hope that "it will work this time." When these hopes are dashed month after month, you should consult your OB/GYN or contact with others through RESOLVE.

How do we find a good infertility specialist?

Many Ob/Gyns and Urologists are specially trained to treat the patient having difficulty conceiving. Doctors who specialize in infertility are board certified in reproductive endocrinology. 

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This section of the RESOLVE website is made possible in part by support from The Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.