USC Fertility

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How Will I Know? Self-diagnosing a Fertility Problem and Choosing a Specialist and/or Clinic

The textbook definition of infertility for women < 35 is “inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse.” This definition is based on the knowledge that in women with “normal” fertility, 57% are pregnant after 3 months, 72% are pregnant after 6 months, and 90% are pregnant after 1 year. If it has been a year and pregnancy has not been achieved, there is likely to be a fertility problem. Other scenarios that should prompt earlier evaluation and treatment from a fertility specialist include:

•For women > 35: Inability to conceive after six months of trying
•Irregular or infrequent menstruation
•History of pelvic infection
•History of endometriosis or symptoms of endometriosis (painful menstruation, painful intercourse)
•Male with suspected or known poor sperm quality

Because the field of assisted reproduction is constantly growing and improving, it is important to choose a fertility clinic that is up to date on cutting-edge research and technologies. University-based or academic centers are most likely to maintain leadership positions in the rapidly expanding field of assisted reproduction. And since fertility treatment is often a very intimate and emotional experience, a specialist and clinic that provides individualized care in a personal, supportive environment is also important.

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