deciphering fertility-When to see a Fertility Specialist

March 19, 2024
In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Starting the parenthood journey is an exciting aspect of life. However, for some couples, this journey may have many unforeseen obstacles. If you have been in the process of deciphering fertility for more than a year and have not seen positive results, then you may need to consult an expert. An infertility specialist can help you determine the cause and provide treatment. But the question is, when is the right time to consult a doctor? Read on to get answers to your queries.

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When to See a Fertility Specialist?

Before you go ahead, know the signs that indicate the need to see a male or female fertility specialist. It is essential to know the basics of fertility. Conception is dependent on many factors, which include the age of partners, quality of sperm and eggs, menstrual cycle and more. Any issues with these can affect fertility. Here are some of the signs to watch out for.

  • Age: It is one of the major factors that contribute to conception. Women who are under the age of 35 years of age and have been trying for more than six months may find it beneficial to consult a fertility specialist. Age is a major factor that affects fertility, and if intervened early, positive results can be achieved.
  • Irregular menstrual cycle: Irregular or inconsistent menstrual cycles are an indicator of ovulatory issues or hormonal imbalances. If your periods are irregular consistently, then you should seek help.
  • Use of contraception for a long: If you have been using contraceptives like intrauterine devices, birth control pills, or other methods, you can expect a delay in conception. However, even after trying for a reasonable time, if you don't get pregnant, consult a doctor.
  • Reproductive health issues: Women with a history of female reproductive system issues like endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), etc., should get a checkup done before starting the parenthood journey to ensure that it does not hinder their conception.
  • Multiple miscarriages: If you experience recurrent miscarriages, it can be challenging emotionally. It is best to consult a fertility specialist to investigate causes and also prevent failure of future attempts.
  • Male infertility: If it is a known issue like having low motility or sperm count, then seek the guidance of a specialist to get a proper treatment plan.
  • Underlying health conditions: People with health conditions like thyroid disorders, diabetes, etc., may have fertility problems. Addressing these challenges with the help of a doctor can increase the chances of conception.

Common Reproductive Problems That Cause Infertility

Infertility is a major problem and is an umbrella term used for various reproductive system issues that men and women face. Infertility is considered a risk factor for many other diseases like sexually transmitted diseases, uterine fibroids, obesity, etc. Most of the infertility cases are because of the below-listed problems, with a few instances of unexplained causes.

Ovulation Problems

This is one of the common causes of infertility in women. It is a condition when an egg is not produced or cannot be moved to the woman. It can be because of:

PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome affects women of reproductive age and is a condition where more than optimal levels of male hormones are produced, causing cysts in ovaries. This impacts the release of eggs.

Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)

Age is a major reason for ovulation problems. As women reach more than 35 years of age, they lose egg cells, and that, along with hormonal changes, has an impact on egg quality and quantity. POI happens when the ovaries do not work, and if it happens before 40, it can cause premature menopause. It is a rare condition that happens in women of reproductive age.

Structural problems

There are many structural problems in women's reproductive system that can cause fertility. It can be the abnormal shape of the uterus, blocked fallopian tubes, scar tissue and previous surgeries and all these can prevent conception or cause miscarriages. Endometriosis is another common condition that affects the reproductive system of women.

Male Fertility

It is one of the most overlooked aspects of fertility. Some of the common issues that lead to fertility problems are Oligospermia and Azoospermia.

Does Thyroid Problems Affect Fertility?

Problems with the thyroid can disrupt a woman's fertility and affect a woman's pregnancy outcomes. There are two ways thyroid problems cause infertility. Hypothyroidism causes cysts on ovaries and enhances prolactin production, because of which there are ovulation problems. This can also put a woman at a greater risk of miscarriage. If you have thyroid problems, consult a gynaecologist to manage it. Keeping the thyroid under control can help mitigate fertility issues.

Also Read : Taking the Next Step: When to Consult a Fertility Specialist

Age and Infertility

As age progresses, infertility and pregnancy complications increase. It also leads to miscarriage risks and also fetus abnormalities. Women can also have complications like gestational diabetes, placenta previa, stillbirth, etc. Women are born with over 2 million eggs in their ovaries, and before they hit puberty every month, about 11000 eggs die. By teenage, there are about 3 lakh to 4 lakh eggs left. From this time, about 1000 eggs are used every month, and it is a natural phenomenon. So, with age, the quantity of eggs reduces, and when menopause is reached, there are no eggs left. So, a woman is more fertile in her 20s, and at 35, the rate rapidly decreases. When a woman hits her 40s, there is only a 5% chance of conception. So, as age increases, fertility gets impacted.

What to Expect at First Visit?

  • Thorough medical history: The specialist will gather extensive information about the medical history, including reproductive health issues, past surgeries, pregnancies and more.
  • Diagnostic test: In some cases, the doctor may suggest tests and scans to understand your issues. This may involve doing imaging tests, evaluating hormone levels, and analyzing semen samples.
  • Treatment plans: After analyzing the scans and test results, a fertility specialist will create a customized plan that is designed for you. This may include medications, lifestyle changes and the use of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.

There is a huge advancement in reproductive medicine, which helps individuals get access to many options to navigate the challenges that infertility poses. Consult a specialist to get clarity on your parenthood journey.


1. When should you see a doctor about fertility?

If you are a couple who are less than 35 years of age and have been trying to conceive for more than a year, or if you are over 35 years old and have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months, then you should see a doctor about fertility.

2. How long should we try before seeing a fertility specialist?

You should try for at least six months to a year before seeing a fertility specialist.

3. When should you check for fertility problems?

If you are not pregnant after a year of trying without birth control or have known reproductive or fertility issues, then you should consult a specialist.

4. Can doctors assure your fertility?

Certain tests and scans can tell if you are fertile. An ultrasound and a blood test to check ovarian reserve and hormone levels indicate fertility.