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Why Does It Take a Whole Year of Trying to Know If I'm Infertile?

If you're trying to start a family but finding that conception isn't as immediate as you expected, you might wonder why we don’t make a infertility diagnosis until you’ve had one year of unprotected intercourse.

Read on as  board-certified OB/GYN A. Michael Coppa, MD, explains why it takes a whole year to know if you’re infertile and what you can do to help boost your fertility. 

Understanding conception timelines

You're not alone feeling impatient during the conception process. It can take several months for a healthy couple to achieve pregnancy, and a healthy couple only has a 15-25% chance of conceiving each month. 

Even if you and your partner are both fertile, there are still many factors at play, including:

Waiting for a year allows Dr. Coppa to account for the natural variability in conception timelines. The exception to this rule is if you are 35 or older. In this case, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests infertility intervention after six months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive. 

Identify potential issues

While waiting for a year — or six months in the case of a woman over the age of 35 — may seem like a lengthy period, it allows Dr. Coppa to identify potential underlying issues systematically. 

During this period, he may be able to rule out common factors such as irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalances, or lifestyle factors affecting fertility.

A year deadline eases some stress

Trying to start a family can be emotionally taxing, and stress itself can affect fertility. Waiting for a year before seeking medical intervention reduces unnecessary stress and anxiety during the initial stages of the journey to parenthood. 

Just knowing that conception doesn’t happen immediately can take some of the stress off you. It can take months to get pregnant, and that’s perfectly normal.

Waiting a year gives you time to try conservative options

Instead of rushing into fertility treatments, waiting for a year gives you time and space to focus on more conservative options to boost fertility. These may include:

Take prenatal vitamins even before you’re pregnant. Taking them when you’re trying to conceive helps prepare your body. 

Do you have to wait a year?

While you may have to wait a year before getting confirmation that you’re dealing with infertility, you don’t have to wait a year to talk to Dr. Coppa about your plans to grow your family. That’s because he offers preconception counseling here in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island. 

During preconception counseling, you can expect to:

Dr. Coppa also provides guidance on any lifestyle modifications that may benefit you.

If, after a year, you still haven’t conceived, Dr. Coppa may review hormone testing, ultrasound imaging tests, and ovulation testing to pinpoint the underlying issues. 

Whether you’re just starting your journey and you’d like to schedule preconception counseling, or you’re nearing that 12-month mark, know that we’re just a call or click away. Call one of our offices to speak with our friendly staff. You can also request an appointment online.

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