When a woman should see a doctor about fertility

You should see a fertility specialist anytime you have concerns about your fertility.

Seek help (find a fertility clinic near you) if:

  • you are under 35 and unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse
  • you are 35 to 37 and unable to conceive after 6 months of regular, unprotected intercourse
  • you are over 37 (women over 37 do not need to wait 6 months before seeing a doctor, because waiting too long to seek help could harm their chances of conceiving)

By definition you are considered infertile if you've been unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse (or after 6 months if you're 35 or older).

However, you should also see a fertility specialist if you're trying to conceive and any of the following apply to you:

  • irregular or absent periods
  • two or more miscarriages
  • prior use of an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • endometriosis/painful menstruation
  • breast discharge
  • excessive acne or hirsutism (body hair)
  • prior use of contraceptive and no subsequent menstruation
  • history of sexually transmitted infection
  • history of pelvic/genital infection
  • previous abdominal surgery
  • reversal of surgical sterilization
  • chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy

Learn more about fertility treatments and what to expect.

When a man should see a doctor about fertility

You should see a fertility specialist anytime you have concerns about your fertility. By definition you are considered infertile if you've been unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse (or after 6 months if you're 35 or older).

You may also wish to see a fertility specialist if any of the following risk factors apply to you:

  • history of sexually transmitted infection
  • history of pelvic/genital infection
  • previous abdominal surgery
  • reversal of surgical sterilization
  • chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • mumps after puberty
  • previous urologic surgery
  • prostate infection
  • family history of cystic fibrosis or other genetic disorders

It is important to remember that approximately a third of all fertility problems have a male factor component.

If you are ready to see a fertility specialist, find out how to take this step.