Women's Health

Identifying infertility

Young couple looking at a pregnancy test


By Amanda Ferraro, MD

Infertility is typically diagnosed when a couple is not getting pregnant despite having well-timed, unprotected intercourse for six to twelve months or there is an underlying medical condition preventing pregnancy. If you suspect you have infertility, you may consider taking the following steps.

What to do if you think you have infertility

Consult with a healthcare provider:
Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider who specializes in reproductive health. This could be a gynecologist, urologist (for males) or a reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in infertility.

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Medical history review:
During your appointment, the healthcare provider will likely ask you questions about your medical history, including any previous pregnancies, surgeries, medications, lifestyle factors and family history of infertility.

Physical examination:
A physical examination may be conducted to check for any physical abnormalities that could affect fertility.


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Diagnostic tests:
Your healthcare provider may recommend various tests to assess fertility. These may include:

  • Blood tests: These tests can evaluate hormone levels related to fertility, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, estrogen and thyroid function.
  • Semen analysis: If you are male, a semen analysis can evaluate the quantity and quality of sperm.
  • Ovulation testing: For females, ultrasounds or blood tests may be used to monitor ovulation and assess ovarian function.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests like ultrasound may be used to examine the reproductive organs and identify any structural abnormalities.

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What other steps should you take if you suspect infertility

Lifestyle changes:
In some cases, lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity or stress can contribute to infertility. Making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing stress may improve fertility.


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Discuss treatment options:
Depending on the underlying cause of infertility, your healthcare provider may recommend various treatment options. These could include medications to stimulate ovulation, surgical procedures to correct anatomical abnormalities, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or other fertility treatments.


Support: Dealing with infertility can be emotionally challenging. Seek support from your partner, friends, family or a therapist who specializes in infertility counseling. Support groups and online communities can also provide valuable help and guidance during this time.


Follow-up appointments: Depending on the results of initial tests and treatments, follow-up appointments may be necessary to monitor progress and adjust treatment plans as needed.

Remember, infertility is a complex issue. There may not always be a quick or straightforward solution, but you’re not alone. Empower yourself by being proactive and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals to help you build your family.

Dr. Ferraro is an obstetrician-gynecologist who is completing her residency at Nuvance Health- Danbury Hospital.