When to Ask for Help


I’m going to think for a moment about when is the right time to get further tests or investigations or to seek advice from your doctor. If you’ve been trying to conceive and you have regular intercourse through regular cycles, after six months of trying, if you haven’t got pregnant, you should be beginning to think about whether it’s the right thing to seek help from your doctor.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence advised that after 12 months of trying through regular cycles, if you haven’t fallen pregnant, you should be having additional tests. Under the age of 35, almost 80% of patients will fall pregnant within 12 months of trying, and therefore if you haven’t fallen pregnant, there is a possibility that something is underlying and causing the problem.

So if you’re having regular intercourse and you haven’t conceived in 12 months, it’s obviously clear that you need some additional input and some tests. But what about if you have other problems underlying, do you wait for a whole year before seeking help? Well, no. There are some situations where it’s important to seek help early.

Having a regular menstrual. It’s a clue as to whether you are reliably ovulating, and there are some very common conditions such as polycystic ovaries, which means that you don’t reliably release mature eggs and your chance of conception can be significantly impacted. So if you’re known to have polycystic ovaries through your medical history, but then you have been trying to conceive an over a period of time are not having periods, there is no point in waiting the full 12 months, you need to seek help earlier.

But there are a number of other reasons why a couple might want to go and get the advice of their doctor a little bit earlier than 12 months into trying. If you are having regular intercourse, but you know that there are issues with penetrative intercourse, ejaculation, maintaining erections, then these are important male factor problems that will significantly impact on your chance of concept.

If you know that in the past you’ve had pelvic infections, pelvic surgery which are known to cause significant fibroids or perhaps have endometriosis, these are all really good reasons why you might seek the help of your doctor a little earlier than one year into trying.

An important final factor to not forget when trying to conceive and working out when to seek help is of course maternal age. If you are approaching 40, your threshold for seeking help may in fact be lower than somebody who’s in their early twenties. We know that maternal ages we’ve already said is really relevant to your chance of success and if after six months of trying at the age of 40 you’re not having success, then your chances will of course be lower than somebody who’s in their early twenties. So we must not forget or ignore maternal age as this can impact not only on your ovarian reserve, your egg quality, but also your chances of getting pregnant naturally.