The first and most important symptom of infertility, in a straight couple, is having properly timed sexual relations and not becoming pregnant within a year.
(If you are in a same-sex relationship, single or trans gender, you will need to seek help to get the cell, either egg or sperm, that you do not have in your relationship. There are egg and sperm donors and agencies who can be worked with to achieve a pregnancy.)
Signs of Fertility Problems
Other signs of fertility problems, besides not becoming pregnant, are:
- A missing or irregular menstrual cycle. If you only get your period once or twice a year or less or your periods are more than 40 days apart or less than 25 days apart, this is an easy reason to point to about not achieving a pregnancy. There are many ways to address these kind of problems with a well-thought-out fertility protocol.
- You have had unprotected sexual relations many times and never become pregnant. Although you may have been just "lucky" not to have gotten pregnant when you did not wish to- if regular birth control was not being used, it might not just have been luck. There may be some sort of underlying problem.
- If you have certain kinds of lifestyle habits– smoking, inactivity or over activity, are very over or under weight, these can create hormonal imbalances and can cause a fertility problem. The good news here is that these tend to be reversible when healthier choices are made.
Please remember that most infertility is not accompanied by pain. You can be pain-free and still have fertility problems. There are some sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) that can very quietly and painlessly cause damage to your reproductive organs.
Testing for Fertility Problems
Whether you are trying to become pregnant now or would like to in the future, it's good thinking to have certain tests done when you see your Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/Gyn) for your yearly visit. Having a STD screen drawn is one thing, another is having an Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test done. An AMH test can give you an idea of your ovarian reserve- what the state of your eggs are at this point in time.
One of the few fertility problems that does cause pain is Endometriosis. It may be that you have pain during sexual relations, or after. Endometriosis can cause pain in between your period or very intense pain during your menstrual cycle. If you have pain that is disabling, please check with your OB/Gyn. It can be important to chart your pain so that you can be very specific with your physician about when it occurs- that makes it more probable to get a correct diagnosis.
Infertility is not a disease that gives you much notice- there's usually not pain and often no other symptoms. Keep up-to-date with your OB/Gyn annual visits and ask to have your AMH levels tested.
If you are 35 and under and have not gotten pregnant within one year of trying to conceive, make an appointment with your OB/Gyn or call for a consultation with a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist. If you are 35 or older, the time period to wait and try on your own is six months.