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When to Seek Medical Help: Understanding the Timeline for Fertility Testing & Evaluation

If you’ve been trying to conceive (that’s TTC) unsuccessfully, knowing when to seek medical assistance is important.

seeking medical counsel when facing fertility problems is key

General recommendations and guidelines are provided by each province in Canada regarding the timeline for seeking medical help when trying to conceive. Let's dive in and empower you with the information you need.



How Long do you need to TTC before seeking medical assistance?


The fact is AGE Matters.


You're under 35:


A couple under 35 is recommended to TTC for at least one year before seeking medical help. Alberta and British Columbia provincial health authorities align, as it allows for a reasonable timeframe to conceive naturally.


You're Between 35 and 40:

The risk of age-related infertility increases dramatically between 30 and 39 due to diminishing ovarian reserve. [5]

(See " Manage Fertility Decline in your 30s" for all the stats here. )


If you're between the ages of 35 and 40, recommendations are TTC for six months before seeking medical help.


Myfertilitylabs.com provides Canadians like you with fertility testing sooner, providing at-home blood testing and evaluation available from your kitchen table. If you are in your early 30's, the truth is you now have the power to access fertility testing immediately when you want it.


You're Over 40: Seeking Immediate Medical Help if you're over 40 years old is advised. Significantly reduced fertility rate and a higher risk of age-related infertility due to diminished ovarian reserve are well documented. [5] Time is of the essence, and early intervention can provide you with the necessary guidance and support to optimize your chances of conceiving.




Join Our Beta User Group:


Regardless of age, if you've been TTC for a few months and are ready to take control of your fertility journey, we invite you to join our beta user group. Gain immediate access to fertility testing, followed by optional medical consultation, cutting your waiting time to weeks.


Other Risk Factors to Consider:


If you have any known risk factors for infertility, it may be appropriate to seek fertility testing and medical assistance sooner as certain risk factors can indicate a higher likelihood of infertility | difficulty conceiving including (but not exclusively):

  1. Irregular Periods

  2. Endometriosis

  3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

  4. History of Pelvic Infection

  5. Family History


The grain of salt is that medical studies support that up to half of women with these risk factors go undiagnosed [1, 2].


Irregular Periods:


Do you track your menstrual cycles? If they are irregular or longer than the average (over 35 days) it may be more challenging to predict ovulation, making conception more difficult. Using a fertility awareness method (FAM) can aid in identifying if your periods, and post ovulatory phase, are regular or not. Choose a FAM that includes medical support as instructors will be formally trained to instruct you in standardized charting that the physician can actually use.


Endometriosis:


When the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus endometriosis potentially causes pain and effects up to 50% of infertile women [4]. The exact prevalence of endometriosis is unknown, but estimates range from 2% to 10% within the general female population [2,3].


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):


PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause you to have irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and is strongly linked to the experience of fertility problems. Yet in a 2021 study, half of women who met the Rotterdam criteria for PCOS were previously undiagnosed[1].


History of Pelvic Infection:


Previous pelvic infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), can lead to scarring and damage to the reproductive organs, affecting fertility. Charting pelvic pain whenever you experience it is an important biomarker for physicians. We detail how in our upcoming blog “How to chart abdominal pain”.


Family History:

Is there is a family history of early menopause or infertility? It may indicate a potential genetic predisposition or underlying condition like PCOS that could affect fertility.


Personalized Guidance and Support:


Recommendations are guidelines, and individual situations may vary. If you are trying to conceive and have concerns about your fertility that are causing you stress, go early to consult with a healthcare provider you trust.


Knowledge is your power, and seeking medical help at the right time can provide valuable insights and support on your fertility journey.


References:


[1] Fernandez RC, Moore VM, Rumbold AR, Whitrow MJ, Avery JC, Davies MJ. Diagnosis delayed: health profile differences between women with undiagnosed polycystic ovary syndrome and those with a clinical diagnosis by age 35 years. Hum Reprod. 2021 Jul 19;36(8):2275-2284. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deab101. PMID: 33963388; PMCID: PMC8289294.

[2] Becker CM, Bokor A, Heikinheimo O, Horne A, Jansen F, Kiesel L, King K, Kvaskoff M, Nap A, Petersen K, Saridogan E, Tomassetti C, van Hanegem N, Vulliemoz N, Vermeulen N; ESHRE Endometriosis Guideline Group. ESHRE guideline: endometriosis. Hum Reprod Open. 2022 Feb 26;2022(2):hoac009. doi: 10.1093/hropen/hoac009. PMID: 35350465; PMCID: PMC8951218.

[3] Eskenazi, Brenda, and Marcella L. Warner. "Epidemiology of endometriosis." Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America 24.2 (1997): 235-258.

[4] Meuleman, Christel, et al. "High prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women with normal ovulation and normospermic partners." Fertility and sterility 92.1 (2009): 68-74.

[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/i-keystat.htm


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