When it comes to having difficulty getting pregnant, you have a choice. You can get help or keep trying to do it on your own. Most of the time, it's easy. In fact, over 80% of couples are able to get pregnant on their own within six months to one year. If you are in the other 20% and have gone over a year without success, it's time to make a decision. Here are FOUR warning signs that you need to seek professional help.
1. AGE: If you are over 35, you are at increased risk for miscarriage, pregnancy complications, birth defects and the possibility of never having a child. Getting help sooner than later is strongly advised. As a rule of thumb, if you are over 35 and nothing has happened after one year, get help. If you are over 38 and nothing has happened after six months, get help. Couples over 41 who haven't even started trying might benefit from a single pre-conception consultation visit to help plan their fertility strategy. Note that these guidelines refer to the age of the wife.
2. DURATION: If it's been over two years without birth control and you're still not pregnant, it's time to get help, because most likely something is wrong. Exceptions include situations where there is a clear excuse such as job assignments or military assignments so that husband and wife are geographically separated the majority of the time. Please note that the two-year limit mentioned is a "red-alert" level for taking action. You are well-advised to seek help even if it's only been one year.
3. OBVIOUS SUSPICION OF A PROBLEM: Some people already anticipate trouble conceiving even before they start trying. These would include couples in which the wife fails to have periods every month, couples where at least one partner has significant medical problems or situations where the wife has had serious gynecological problems in the past. It makes sense to get help quickly in these situations, even if hasn't been a full year yet.
4. URGENCY AND PRIORITY: On one extreme, if you are very willing to accept never having children at all, then you can certainly continue trying on your own without any time limit. If you DO get pregnant on your own, it will be a great blessing. If you don't, then you are able to accept it. On the other extreme, if the thought of having a baby is the #1 priority consuming your every waking moment and is seriously hindering you from enjoying life, then you owe it to yourself to at least discuss things with a professional immediately.
REMEMBER: Always have a plan! Even if that plan consists of trying on your own for 12 months, at least you have a safety net for when you will be triggered to move to the next step and seek treatment. If you are not pregnant yet and want to be, make sure to set yourself a deadline so that if you're still not pregnant by that time, you will take action and do something! This is the only way to reassure that you don't let time pass by before it's too late.