We always assume that when we’re ready to get pregnant, conception should easy enough, but when we’ve been trying for a while and there’s still no good news to share, we start to worry. Is it a fertility problem? From causes to treatments to success, there’s a lot of information to understand, and it easily becomes overwhelming. Here’s an overview of what to expect when taking this challenging journey to motherhood.
The average couple takes anywhere from three months to a year to get pregnant. Of course, everyone is different. Also, several factors–such as the woman’s age (over 35 it becomes more difficult), the regularity of her menstrual cycle, or if the man is a smoker–can affect how fast it happens.
The common consensus is that if you’re under the age of 35 and not pregnant after a year of trying, there is a possibility of infertility. For women over the age of 35, the cutoff is six months. If you suspect you may have a problem, you and your partner should see a health care provider to confirm if this is true.
A specialist may offer what is known as a full fertility workup, which includes physical exams, hormone analysis, and health history for both partners. From here they try to determine the root cause of infertility, which may include problems with ovulation, the shape or lining of the uterus, egg quality, or blocked Fallopian tubes. And those are just the potential causes for women; men have a set of possibilities all their own.
If they’re able to determine a cause, a specialist can recommend a type of treatment for you and/or your partner. If you suffer from a hormone imbalance, you may be prescribed fertility drugs to obtain balance in your body. Those that struggle with insemination might find that artificial insemination is the best course of action, while others find that certain surgeries can help if they have blocked Fallopian tubes or other internal issues. The most invasive treatment is assisted reproductive technology (ART), which includes procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF). This tends to be recommended to couples when other treatments have failed.
Medical treatments for infertility are expensive, and not all of them are covered by health insurance. Many couples cover the entire cost out of their own pockets. It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee these treatments will work. Any reputable clinic will be honest about that, rather than offer you a money-back guarantee with a lot of fine print. Be sure to find out if the treatment center has a cancellation policy, so you are only charged for the services rendered and will be refunded for any if you decide to cancel.
If you still aren’t pregnant after all that you’ve gone through, it’s normal to come to a crossroads about what you want to do. There isn’t one right answer, because every answer is unique to the couple. The right answer is what works for you. Infertility may stop you from bearing children, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living a life with a lot of love in it.