Avoiding Delays
Bay IVF - Advanced Reproductive Care                                Palo Alto  650-322-0500

 

Do Not Wait Too Long

By Francis Polansky, M.D.

Once a couple has been sexually active without contraception for a year, it is unlikely that they will achieve spontaneous pregnancy.

Rate of conception in the general population:

Probability of Conception

 

Infertility is most often defined as 12 months of unprotected intercourse without achieving a pregnancy.

It is important that you do not wait too long before seeing an infertility specialist. Please note that there is no distinction between having unprotected intercourse and "trying" to conceive. They both represent "exposure" to conception.

The following table illustrates the recommended length of "exposure," as it relates to the female partner’s age, before consulting a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) specialist.

Length of "Exposure" before Consulting an REI Specialist
Female Age No
Exposure
1 to 3 months 4 to 6 months 7 to 9 months 10 to 12 months 13 or more months
35 or Less Begin sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Consult
REI
36 to 37 Begin sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Consult
REI
 
38 to 39 Begin sexual activity Continue sexual activity Continue sexual activity Consult
REI
   
40 to 41 Begin sexual activity Continue sexual activity Consult
REI
     
42 to 44 Consult
REI
         

 

An average couple unable to conceive on their own has been through one to two years of infertility. That is one to two years of no contraception and no birth or ongoing pregnancy. One to two years of testing and treatments. One to two years of heartache and disappointments.

It does not have to be this way. Infertility testing can be performed systematically and without delays. Within a short period of time, it is possible to arrive at the most appropriate treatment for you and initiate it. Even the most complex treatments can be performed in a timely manner.

Once you decide to begin fertility treatment, there is very little to gain by procrastinating. There is always the chance of a "miracle" pregnancy, but for some patients, the extra few months of waiting could mean the difference between being able and not being able to have a biological child.

 

March 2022

 

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