Infertility 101

Written by: Dr. Lindsey Seale

At Parkhill Clinic, we know there can be many questions regarding difficulties achieving pregnancy. Sometimes patients may be afraid to ask the questions or are embarrassed. Sometimes patients just simply don’t know what questions to ask. We care about you and your questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions. If you don’t find the answer you are searching for, come talk to us. We, as your doctors, are happy to help and look forward to helping you achieve your dreams of starting a family. We understand this can be an emotionally frustrating time. Don’t worry alone. Come let us help you!


Q1. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for months. At what point should we be concerned?

  A.  The chances of becoming pregnant each month, if everything is working perfectly with both partners, is surprisingly low. Therefore, it can take up to a year for healthy couples to achieve pregnancy. If you have been trying for a year and have not achieved pregnancy, talk to your doctor.


Q2. What time of the month is the most likely time to achieve pregnancy?

  A. Normal cycles are typically 28-35 days apart. For these women, most will  ovulate, or release an egg, somewhere between days 10-17.


Q3. What if my periods are irregular?

  A.  This is a very important factor in achieving pregnancy. If your periods are sporadic or if they are occurring more than 35 days apart, you should visit with your doctor.


Q4. Are there ways to test for ovulation at home?

  A. Ovulation predictor kits, available at most pharmacies, can help you time ovulation. This is a kit much like a urine pregnancy test. Though these are not 100% accurate, they can assist in the timing of intercourse to achieve pregnancy. If your tests are negative, please come visit with us.


Q5. What does an infertility evaluation look like?

  A. Your doctor will want to review your history and may want to examine you. Lab work at certain times in the cycle will be drawn. We may also want to obtain imaging of your uterus, tubes and ovaries, as well as a semen sample from your partner.


Q6. Is infertility covered by insurance?

  A. Every insurance carrier is different. If we determine that you need treatment  to achieve pregnancy, our office staff will review your specific benefits with you.


Q7. Does infertility always result in the need for a specialist and IVF?

  A. Not at all. In fact, there are medicines that can be taken orally to induce ovulation. If you require one of these, we will monitor you closely and discuss whether you will need artificial insemination or not.


Q8. Can we have artificial insemination (AI) locally or do we have to see a specialist for this?

  A. We can perform AI in our main clinic in Fayetteville.


Q9. Is infertility just a woman’s problem?

  A. No. In fact, with about 35% of couples, both partners are contributing to infertility. We can arrange for your husband to have a semen analysis and can refer you to a specialist if need be.


Q10.   I’ve been on birth control since I was a teenager. Is that the cause of infertility?

  A. No. Most young women start taking oral contraceptives for a variety of reasons other than just birth control. For example, a young woman may be prescribed OCPs for irregular periods. Her periods are regular while on them but resume their irregularity once she stops them to achieve pregnancy. Therefore, the pills are not the cause of infertility. They have just regulated an underlying problem.


Q11. Is age a factor in infertility?

  A. Isn’t age seemingly a factor in everything? Many women are delaying child bearing these days for a variety of reasons. Age can certainly play a role in this. If you are approximately 35 and have been trying for at least 6 months unsuccessfully, speak to your doctor.


Q12. What things can affect my fertility?

  A. This is a common question and the answer is a very long one.

     a.  General Health – we recommend a healthy weight, adequate exercise, and prenatal vitamins. We also recommend smoking cessation and limiting alcohol consumption for both partners while attempting to achieve pregnancy.

     b.  Partners should avoid steroids, as well as testosterone usage as these can dramatically affect sperm count.

     c.   Previous history – If you have had a previous pelvic infection, such as chlamydia or a previous ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, please make sure your doctor is aware. If you have had a history of miscarriage or a family history of such, please make sure your doctor is aware.


Lindsey N. Seale, M.D.