When Should I See a Doctor About Infertility?

When Should I See a Doctor About Infertility?

Infertility can be a deeply emotional and challenging experience. Understanding when to seek medical advice is crucial for early diagnosis and effective treatment. This comprehensive guide will help you determine the right time to consult a healthcare professional about infertility.

Criteria Description
Age Factor Under 35: Trying to conceive for one year without success.35 and Older: Trying to conceive for six months without success.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles Menstrual cycles that are unpredictable, irregular, or absent, indicating potential ovulation problems.
Known Reproductive Issues Pre-existing conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, or low sperm count that are known to affect fertility.
History of Miscarriages Multiple miscarriages, which could indicate underlying fertility issues that need medical attention.
Sexual Dysfunction Issues such as erectile dysfunction or painful intercourse that could interfere with conception.
Medical History History of STIs, PID, diabetes, thyroid disorders, or other conditions that can affect fertility.

Understanding Infertility

Infertility is generally defined as the inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse for women under 35, and after six months for women 35 and older. Both men and women can experience infertility, and it’s essential to consider both partners when seeking medical advice​.

When to See a Doctor

1. Age Factor

  • Under 35: If you have been trying to conceive for one year without success.
  • 35 and Older: If you have been trying to conceive for six months without success.

2. Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Irregular or absent menstrual cycles can indicate ovulation problems, which can contribute to infertility. If your cycles are unpredictable or you miss periods frequently, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.

3. Known Reproductive Issues

If you or your partner have known reproductive health issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or low sperm count, seeking medical advice sooner rather than later is recommended.

4. History of Miscarriages

If you have experienced multiple miscarriages, it is important to see a doctor. Recurrent pregnancy loss can be a sign of an underlying fertility issue that needs to be addressed.

5. Sexual Dysfunction

If you or your partner experience sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or painful intercourse, it can impact your ability to conceive. Consulting a healthcare professional can help address these issues.

6. Medical History

If you have a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or other medical conditions like diabetes or thyroid disorders, these can affect fertility. It’s advisable to discuss your medical history with a doctor when trying to conceive.

Steps to Take Before Seeing a Doctor

1. Track Your Menstrual Cycle

Keep a record of your menstrual cycle, including the length of each cycle, the dates of your periods, and any symptoms you experience. This information can be helpful for your doctor.

2. Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress. These factors can influence fertility.

3. Know Your Medical History

Gather information about your medical history, including any previous surgeries, medications, and chronic health conditions. Also, know your family history related to reproductive health.

What to Expect at the Doctor’s Visit

When you see a doctor about infertility, you can expect a thorough evaluation, which may include:

  • Medical History Review: Discussion of your medical history, menstrual cycle, sexual habits, and lifestyle.
  • Physical Examination: A general physical exam and a pelvic exam for women.
  • Laboratory Tests: Blood tests to check hormone levels, ovarian reserve, and other markers.
  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasound to evaluate reproductive organs and possibly a hysterosalpingography (HSG) to examine the fallopian tubes and uterus.
  • Semen Analysis: For men, a semen analysis to assess sperm count, motility, and morphology.

Common Treatments for Infertility

Depending on the cause of infertility, treatment options may include:

  • Medications: To stimulate ovulation or address hormonal imbalances.
  • Surgery: To correct anatomical issues, such as blocked fallopian tubes or varicoceles.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Including in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and use of donor eggs or sperm.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Making healthy lifestyle changes to improve fertility.


Deciding when to see a doctor about infertility is a critical step in the journey to conception. If you meet any of the criteria mentioned above, it’s time to seek medical advice. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy. Always consult with a healthcare professional to get personalized advice and support tailored to your specific situation.