“We define infertility as the inability to conceive after a year of trying. In women who are over age 35, we lower that to 6 months instead of a year, because of a possible limited fertility range.”, says Laura Collins, an OB/GYN at Washington Regional’s Her Health Clinic. “I think a lot of couples can feel alone when it comes to infertility, but it actually affects 1 in 8 American couples, for those over the age of 40 it is up to as high as 30%. In a routine work up, we first meet with a couple, and go over their menstrual, surgical, and medical histories to rule out any kind of medical causes. We’ll do lab work on the female partner. We’ll do labs to test ovarian function, we will also do labs later in the cycle to see if she is ovulating or not. We’ll also do an ultrasound to see if anatomically, the uterus, tubes, and ovaries appear normal. There’s also a radiologic study, known as an HSG, where we shoot dye through the uterus, and it comes out the tubes to look at tubal patency, to make sure the tubes are open, and assess the integrity of the uterine cavity. Then we’ll do a semen analysis on the partner, to try to rule out the male factor at the beginning. Infertility is difficult for couples because it’s challenging emotionally, and it’s a very stressful process to go through. Things that can help support fertility include any kind of activities to decrease your stress level, whether that be exercise, yoga, or eating healthy. I would also suggest taking a good multivitamin. You want to avoid extreme weight changes, either extreme obesity or being underweight, both increase your chances of infertility. There should be no tobacco use in the male or female partner, and there should be limited alcohol use by both partners as well. To make an appointment at Her Health, please give us a call or visit us online and we’d be happy to see you.”