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Time to Question Your Fertility?

You and your partner have been trying to conceive for more than a year. You feel it's time to find out if there's something wrong, or if there's something you can do to increase your chances of success. But what?

In the WebMD Trying to Conceive Community, Yvette Smith, MD, MPH, gives step-by-step instruction for what to do next.

Step 1. This is basic infertility testing. Smith says it should include:

  • Ovulation testing with ovulation predictor kits or temperature charting
  • A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or X-ray to make sure the woman's fallopian tubes are open
  • A semen analysis for the man, to make sure his sperm count, shape, and movement are not an issue
  • Blood tests to check for other issues, such as thyroid dysfunction

Step 2. This step depends on what happens in Step 1. If the tests uncover abnormalities, your doctor will talk to you about treatment. But about half the time, doctors don't actually find a reason why a couple is not conceiving, Smith says. So what then?

Step 3. You may choose to go back to trying to conceive on your own, possibly with the help of ovulation charting and timed intercourse. Or you may want to learn about other options.

Smith says she always recommends seeing a fertility specialist. A specialist can talk to you about options such as:

  • Using a mild fertility drug
  • Using injections or stronger medications for more productive ovulation
  • Insemination with the man's sperm
  • Insemination via a donor's sperm
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) with the woman's eggs
  • IVF with a donor's eggs

If you don't decide to try any of these routes, Smith says, at least you'll know your available options. It's much harder to find out later on that you would have tried something if only you'd known about it.

Have you looked at some of these options for conception?

Discussion led by Yvette Smith, MD, MPH Guest Expert
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