Most couples achieve pregnancy within the first six months of trying. Overall, after 12 months of frequent unprotected intercourse, about 90 percent of couples will become pregnant. The majority of couples will eventually conceive, with or without treatment.

The main sign of infertility is the inability for a couple to get pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms.

In some cases, an infertile woman may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. Rarely, an infertile man may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.

When to see a doctor

In general, don't be too concerned about infertility unless you and your partner have been trying regularly to conceive for at least one year. Talk with your doctor earlier, however, if you're a woman and:

  • You're age 35 to 40 and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer
  • You're over age 40, so you should begin testing or treatment right away
  • You menstruate irregularly or not at all
  • Your periods are very painful
  • You have known fertility problems
  • You've been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease
  • You've had more than one miscarriage
  • You've had prior cancer treatment

If you're a man, talk with your doctor if you have:

  • Low sperm count or other problems with sperm
  • A history of testicular, prostate or sexual problems
  • You've had prior cancer treatment
Jul. 19, 2013