Babies are born every day — hundreds of thousands of them, in fact. Most couples who want a family can simply let nature take its course. Usually within a few months of discontinuing the use of contraceptives, most couples find they have successfully started the new life they have been longing for.
Simply because pregnancies happen easily for many people, however, does not mean this is the case for everyone. Some couples find that, for them, after many months of trying, pregnancy proves elusive. In fact, as many as fifteen percent of couples in the US, according to the Mayo Clinic web page, have been diagnosed with infertility.
What is infertility?
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. In some circumstances, the diagnosis is considered after only six months. There are many different causes of infertility. Sometimes it can be a single factor in one of the partners, or it can involve more than one factor and even both partners.
In women, some of the conditions that can contribute to infertility include untreated hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome, or anything that affects the ovary’s ability to produce mature, healthy eggs. In men, causes can include hormone imbalances, conditions that create antibodies that attack sperm, sperm ducts that have been scarred by illness or injury, undescended testis, and even celiac disease.
Are there at-home treatments?
Folk remedies for infertility abound, and if you and your partner have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, you have probably heard one or more of them from well-meaning friends. Take your vitamins. Stop worrying about it. Take a cruise. Avoid the hot tub. Wear boxer shorts. And, while none of these can hurt, if either you or your partner have a specific medical condition that is at the root of your infertility, folk remedies are unlikely to help.
How long should you wait before making an appointment with a fertility clinic?
An official diagnosis of infertility, as noted above, is usually made after a year of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a year or longer, then it’s definitely time to make that appointment. If, however, you are a woman who is over the age of 35, or who has had more than one miscarriage, you might want to consider seeing a fertility clinic sooner. If you have previously been diagnosed with a problem that could affect your fertility — such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts if you are a woman, or low sperm count if you are a man — you may want to seek the assistance of a fertility specialist sooner to improve your chances of conceiving.