About Fertility
Understand and Explore Options

Both the need and the desire to have children are very basic to the human condition. Most people plan to have children at some point in their lives, and many assume that when they are ready they will be able to conceive without trouble. Here are some important facts to consider about fertility:

  • For most couples, the likelihood of becoming pregnant after one month of unprotected intercourse is approximately 25%, increasing to 85-90% after one year. Unfortunately, approximately 10-15% of couples desiring children in the United States remain infertile at the end of one year.
  • Fertility requires normal ovulation (the production and release of mature eggs), sperm, and a way for the eggs and sperm to get together. Infertility is NOT a sexual disorder. Rather it is a compromise of the reproductive system that can be caused by a number of factors.
  • Women under the age of 35 should undergo a fertility evaluation if conception does not occur within a year. Those over 35 should pursue a fertility evaluation after attempting for six months. A woman using artificial insemination should also ask her physician about an infertility evaluation after six months.
  • The diagnosis of infertility is an important predictor of pregnancy success and the ultimate guide to treatment options. In general, infertility is diagnosed as a female problem in 35% of cases, a male problem in 35%, a combined problem in 20%, and unexplained in 10%.
  • There are many options available to help women and men address infertility. The medical and surgical procedures offered by the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health are described in the services section of this site. Other options, such as adoption and foster parenthood can also be considered.