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Go Ask Mom

Duke Medicine: When is it time to see a fertility specialist?

Posted December 26, 2011

Sometimes the road to a baby bump can be bumpy. When is it time to see a fertility specialist?

If you are younger than 35, try for a year to get pregnant before considering fertility treatments, says reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Thomas Price. If you are 35 or older, try for six months.

Of course, these guidelines are for those who don’t have obvious problems, such as very irregular periods or a history of pelvic inflammatory disease.

As we all know, the older you get the lower your chances of pregnancy become. After age 40, chances of successful pregnancy are low. But I’ve heard of women having children well into their forties and even older, Price said.

Stories of older women, especially celebrities, having children in their late forties tend to get a lot of attention. The part of the story that doesn’t always come out is that they very likely became pregnant with the help of an egg donor.

Even with in vitro fertilization (IVF), the chances of a woman becoming pregnant after her early forties with her own eggs are very low. In fact, we typically don’t offer in vitro fertilization with a woman’s own eggs after age 44.

Dr. Price offers more information on fertility treatments, including options for women over age 44 and the most common causes for infertility, in the full post at DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine is Go Ask Mom's sponsor and offers medical information here every Tuesday.

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