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What is an infertility evaluation?

An infertility evaluation includes exams and tests to try to find the reason why you and your partner have not gotten pregnant. If a cause is found, treatment may be possible. In many cases, infertility can be successfully treated even if no cause is found.

When should I consider having an infertility evaluation?

Experts recommend an infertility evaluation if you have not gotten pregnant after 1 year of having regular sexual intercourse without using birth control. If you are older than 35, an evaluation is recommended after 6 months of trying. If you are older than 40, talk with your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) now about an evaluation.

What type of doctor does an infertility evaluation?

Your ob-gyn usually will do the first assessment. You also may see a reproductive endocrinologist (an ob-gyn with special training in infertility). Men may see a urologist. It is important to find a specialist you are comfortable with.

What causes infertility?

The most common cause of female infertility is a problem with ovulation. The most common cause of male infertility is a problem with sperm cells and how they function. Other factors that may affect fertility include age, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Sometimes no cause of infertility is found. This is called unexplained infertility.

How does age affect fertility?

For healthy couples in their 20s or early 30s, the chance that a woman will become pregnant is about 25 to 30 percent in any single menstrual cycle. This percentage starts to decline in a woman’s early 30s. It declines more rapidly after age 37.

By age 40, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant drops to less than 10 percent per menstrual cycle. A man’s fertility also declines with age, but not as predictably.

How can lifestyle affect fertility?

Women who are underweight, overweight, or exercise too much may have a harder time getting pregnant. In women, drinking alcohol at moderate or heavy levels and smoking may reduce fertility. In men, smoking, heavy drinking, and using marijuana can reduce sperm count and movement.

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