ZocdocAnswersHow can I know if I am infertile?

Question

How can I know if I am infertile?

I am 22. I dealt with irregular periods in the past due to low progesterone levels. I had them regulated by birth controls as of 2011. Me and my partner were active all last month, and 2 weeks ago, I started exhibiting symptoms of pregnancy that were stronger and much sooner than as if regular PMS, and had added symptoms included. I knew all I had to do is wait for my period to see what's up. Yesterday morning, I spotted and didn't see anything else the rest of the day. Today, I think I'm on my period full force and do not know what's going on. I fear infertility, as I have been active since I was 15, me and my partner have never used a contraceptive. (The birth control was used during a year I was not sexually active.) I've never had a pregnancy or even a scare. My period would be real late or early. My period was regulated from September 2011 to November this year, and I'd get them every 25 days like clock work. I fear the worst now. Please help. (Better details upon request.)

Answer

This is a difficult question that is best discussed in full detail with an OB/GYN who specializes in infertility. In general, the definition of infertility is someone who has sex regularly for at least one year without becoming pregnant. If a couple is trying to conceive and has not managed to become pregnant after a year, then a work-up for infertility can be initiated. Usually, this will involve performing a semen analysis to assess whether the male partner is infertile, followed by several blood tests in the woman to assess whether or not her ovaries are still working. Sometimes an x-ray with contrast will be performed to make sure the uterus and fallopian tubes are patent (open rather than blocked up). It sounds like you've had some testing before for your irregular periods. I would make an appointment to discuss your concerns either with your regular doctor or with an infertility specialist. If you've had irregular periods it may simply be that it may take longer for you to get pregnant, rather than that you are unable to conceive. Given that you're 22, it's not clear to me from what you've written that you are actively trying to get pregnant, in which case I would strongly recommend using some form of contraception even while you pursue this question. This is a scary subject, but many women who have difficulty conceiving are eventually able to have children, and it is not worth having a child before you are ready in order to determine whether or not you are infertile.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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