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Half of all couples conceives within six months, while almost all healthy couples who tracked their ovulation and had regular sex get pregnant within 12 months of quitting contraceptives. Perhaps you and your partner have been attempting to get pregnant for longer than a year, and are now wondering how you should proceed? What is the definition of infertility?

Infertility is, of course, a couple's inability to conceive a child. Infertility can result from a problem with the female partner's fertility, a problem with the male partner's fertility, or both. The World Health Organization says that a couple can officially be considered infertile if they have been trying to get pregnant for two years without success. The WHO definition of infertility mentions both primary infertility, when a childless couple cannot conceive, and secondary infertility, when a couple that has already had one child or more is unable to get pregnant again. In the United States, your eligibility for fertility treatment depends on your reproductive endocrinologist. Couples who are below 35 years of age must have been having contraceptive-free intercourse for at least a year to be seen by a doctor. Those who are older than 35, and especially those who are over 40, are generally eligible for treatment once they have been trying for a baby for six months. Your appointment

At your initial doctor's appointment, your healthcare provider will ask questions about how long you have been trying for a baby, how often you have had intercourse, whether you know if you ovulate, and other things directly related to your fertility. Couples need to describe their medical history, and that of their family, in as much detail as possible as well. Then, there will be a physical examination. For women, the fertility-specific part of the medical testing process will include tests to see if you ovulate (if you didn't already do that yourself), blood tests to check your hormone levels, and an ultrasound to locate blocked tubes and other immediately obvious physical problems. A biopsy of the tissue that lines the uterus, the endometrium, is also common. Men's fertility testing is generally more straight forward a sperm analysis is the starting point. If the semen analysis shows that a man has a low sperm count, or morphology and motility problems (this means abnormally shaped sperm or sperm that won't move properly), steps are then taken to determine the cause. Once it becomes clear what the cause of a couple's infertility is, your medical team can then move forward and advise you on the best treatment options in your cause.

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