The Mommyish Definitive Guide To Infertility: The Basics, As Explained By Your Best Friend

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mad woman with pregnancy testInfertility can be emotionally charged topic filled with medical jargon and unfamiliar terms. Maybe you’re having difficulty trying to conceive. Maybe you’re looking for more information to support a friend or family member who is dealing with infertility or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, I’ve been there, so here’s a simple guide to help you understand how infertility is diagnosed, along with some of the dirty details I wish I had known beforehand.

 What is infertilty?

Just the facts:

Barring exception circumstances, if you are trying to get pregnant but haven’t, most OB/GYNs won’t meet with you about getting pregnant until you are considered infertile. For a woman under age 35, infertility is generally defined as the inability to become pregnant after 12 months of trying. For woman over 35, trying for six months without becoming pregnant is the typical standard before you can meet with a doctor. Just because you are classified as infertile doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t have a baby. The majority of couples with infertility issues are able to get pregnant with the help of medications or procedures.

The real deal:

I happened to fall into the “exceptional circumstances” category, as when I went off birth control, I never got my period. At first, I thought my husband had super sperm and I had gotten knocked up Jill Duggar style, but when multiple pee sticks said I wasn’t pregnant, my OB wanted to see me right away.

Even though it can be so frustrating to try with no results, the general rule of trying on your own seems to pan out. On average, it can take a year for a couple to get pregnant. I have girlfriends that popped up pregnant the first month they tried, and others who had their appointments with the OB to discuss infertility already scheduled when they found out they were expecting. So if you’re only a few months in, don’t be discouraged, it doesn’t mean something is wrong, sometimes it really does just take time.

How are infertility issues diagnosed?

Just the facts:

Your doctor may perform a physical exam. This exam could include the use of an intervaginal ultrasound. It is likely that the doctor will want blood tests for both partners and possibly a sperm sample from your partner.

The real deal:

In any movie or TV show that features a pregnant lady, there’s always the scene where they are in the doctor’s office, and they put the goo on her belly and they show the baby as a little gummi bear-looking blog on screen, even if she just found out she’s pregnant. Let me tell you, that scene is a dirty, dirty LIE.

When my doctor said they wanted to do an ultrasound to try and troubleshoot my fertility issues, my biggest concern was whether or not he would think my stomach was too hairy. When he pulled out what looked like a giant sex toy and covered it in a lubricated extra large condom I realized I had much bigger things to worry about (pun intended). And, they use that Wand of Doom for a while even after you get pregnant, because the baby needs to be pretty big before it will show up using the belly ultrasound. Consider yourself warned.

Also, tip for the fellas- if you have to provide a sperm sample, consider bringing along your own porn. From my understanding, the pickings provided can be pretty slim, plus, do you really want to touch that? No, no you don’t.

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