Infertility: Care Instructions

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Infertility means that you haven't been able to get pregnant after trying for at least 1 year (or 6 months if you're over 35). It doesn't mean you'll never get pregnant.

Your chances of getting pregnant are higher when you are younger. You are most able to get pregnant (fertile) in your late 20s. Then, in your mid-30s, you become less fertile. This is because your eggs get older.

Trouble getting pregnant can be caused by a problem with the reproductive organs. Talk with your doctor about testing and treatment. Testing will likely start with hormone and semen testing.

There is a wide range of treatment options. They include medicines, surgery, insemination, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take a multivitamin with folic acid. This helps to prevent birth defects if you do become pregnant.
  • Get regular exercise. But do not overdo it. Excessive exercise can cause eggs to release less often or sperm count to lower.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine use.
  • Avoid smoking, marijuana, and illegal drugs.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. This will increase your chances of getting pregnant. Being overweight or weighing too little can affect fertility.
  • Talk to your doctor about all medicines you are taking or may take. This includes over-the-counter and prescribed medicines and herbal remedies. Some medicines interfere with pregnancy.
  • Write down when your period starts and stops for a few months. Bring that information to your doctor. Your doctor can help you figure out when you ovulate and are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex. Or you may prefer to use a home ovulation test.
  • If you know when you will ovulate, try to have sex once a day for the 4 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation.
  • If you don't know when you will ovulate, have sex 2 or 3 times each week.
  • Don't use lubricants during sex. They may affect how well sperm can travel to meet an egg.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.