It’s National Infertility Awareness Week.

How do you know when you need help getting pregnant?

Couples who are trying to get pregnant but are not succeeding can be under tremendous stress.

On average, 80 percent of heterosexual couples will become pregnant within a year of starting to try. So, if you’ve been trying for a year, then it’s time to see a specialist to identify any problems preventing conception.

Some couples should see a specialist sooner than a year. Women that are 35 or older should not wait more than 6 months. Women who don’t have regular cycles should see someone right away, because that means the ovaries aren’t ovulating regularly.

There are many effective treatments for infertility. IVF or in vitro fertilization is the most complex, but most patients won’t need IVF to achieve pregnancy.

The most important changeable risk factor for infertility is smoking. Fertility in both men and women is negatively affected by smoking.

To recap, if you’re under 35, seek an evaluation after one year of trying. If you’re over 35, check in after 6 months.  And, any time you suspect that something is not working correctly in the reproductive process or if you’ve had previous serious health challenges like cancer, a discussion with an infertility specialist could be useful.

Learn more about Reproductive Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center. 

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