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About Fertility

Though not often discussed, infertility is quite common – approximately 15% of people desiring children in the United States will need help conceiving.

Achieving a pregnancy requires 1) ovulation (the release of an egg), 2) sperm, 3) a way for the egg and sperm to meet, and 4) a place for an embryo to implant and develop. Infertility is a compromise of the reproductive system that can be caused by one or more of these factors.

Common causes of infertility include age, irregular or absent periods, low sperm counts, fallopian tube blockage, and endometriosis. Infertility can be attributable to both female and male factors in up to 40% of cases, and is “unexplained” in about 25-30% of cases. 

The age of the female partner attempting conception is one of the biggest factors in determining the likelihood of becoming pregnant and the length of time it may take to conceive.

For women 35 or younger, the likelihood of becoming pregnant after one month of regular unprotected intercourse is approximately 20%, and about 85% of individuals will achieve pregnancy within one year of trying. At 38, the chances of getting pregnant naturally are about 10-15% per month, and after 40 they are 5% per month or less. This means that the older the age of the female partner, the longer it can take to get pregnant and the more likely you are to experience infertility.  

Therefore, women under the age of 35 should undergo a fertility evaluation if conception does not occur within a maximum of 12 months. Those over 35 should pursue a fertility evaluation after attempting for 6 months. 

Not all women should wait these timeframes before asking their doctor about a fertility assessment (for example, women with irregular periods or women 40 or older may warrant sooner evaluation).