Patients often say the same thing in appointments with Dr. Abey Eapen, an infertility specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center: “I never learned about this in my high school.”
Many couples find having a baby more difficult than they thought. Many women in heterosexual relationships get pregnant after only a few months. However, up to 15% are unable to have children after a year of unprotected sex. That means they meet the clinical definition of infertility: not conceiving within a year if the woman is younger than 35, or within six months if she’s 35 or older.
Many people don’t realize how common infertility is until they’re experiencing it themselves. That, Eapen says, is why he’s argued for years that fertility testing should be woven into routine medical care every few years for women of reproductive age, “just like having a Pap smear.” If people began learning about their fertility before actively trying to have kids, he says, they might go into the process feeling informed and better prepared to make decisions about when and how to try for a baby.
Experts are not all in agreement. Some experts believe that fertility testing can cause anxiety, while others say it is…