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Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago ivf

General Infertility: Infertility Causes, Testing and Treatment

Definition of infertility: 12 months or more of unprotected intercourse without pregnancy


  • Primary infertility: Infertility without any previous pregnancy.
  • Secondary infertility: Fertility problems occurring in a couple that has conceived on their own and had a child in the past.
  • Sterility: When there is no chance for a pregnancy. This is different from infertility which generally represents a reduced potential for pregnancy.

Most childless couples with a female age under about 43 that are having problems getting pregnant are considered to be infertile but not sterile.

Learn more about female aging and fertility issues

Most childless couples with a female age under about 43 that are having problems getting pregnant are considered to be infertile but not sterile.


When to see a fertility specialist?

  • In general, it is appropriate to see a doctor for medical assistance after 12 months of trying to get pregnant on your own.
  • Many couples will start the infertility workup process with their general gynecologist, while others prefer to go straight to a fertility specialist. Either option is appropriate.
  • It is advised to see a specialist sooner if the female partner is over 35 years old.

It is prudent to seek medical help for fertility issues without waiting for a year of trying on your own if you have a condition that is a known risk factor for fertility problems, such as irregular menstrual cycles, endometriosis, previous tubal pregnancy, PCOS - polycystic ovary syndrome, previous pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), etc.

The appropriate amount of time to try on your own can be longer, or shorter than one year. For example, if you are only 25 years old and feel that you want to give it more time to occur naturally - you might try on your own for another 6 months before seeing a doctor for help.

However, it is recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) to seek medical help after only 6 months of trying if the female age is 35 or older.

In 2008, ASRM published a revised definition of infertility that says:

"Infertility is a disease, defined by the failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected intercourse. Earlier evaluation and treatment may be justified based on medical history and physical findings and is warranted after 6 months for women over age 35 years."

  • For couples with a female partner age 40 or older, it is appropriate to see a fertility specialist if not pregnant by 3-4 months of trying to conceive.
  • A high percentage of women over 40 will have age-related issues (egg quality) and will need medical help to get pregnant.
  • If the female partner is 42 or older, it is recommended to see a specialist right away if wanting to have a baby.

Fertility advice

You do not need to have sex all the time in order to get pregnant. If you like it that way, then no problem - it doesn't reduce a couple's fertility potential either. The best fertility advice in terms of frequency of intercourse is - every day or every other day "around ovulation".

  • Ovulation is usually on day 14 - if the menstrual cycle length (from day 1 to day 1) is 28 days, or on day 16 if periods are 30 days apart.
  • In other words, ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the next period comes.

The egg only lives about 12-24 hours, while the sperm (if normal) will live in the female's reproductive tract for up to 2-5 days - while maintaining the ability to fertilize an egg.

  • Therefore, the best fertility advice would be to have sex on the day of ovulation, or the day before ovulation (or both).
  • Having sex more than about 24 hours after ovulation should be fun and all that, but it isn't likely to increase the planetary population.

Causes of problems getting pregnant

The cause of infertility is investigated by performing fertility tests in a basic infertility evaluation. The tests can be completed during one menstrual cycle (one month).



Fertility treatment - for both female and male infertility

4920 N. Central Ave
Suite 2C

Chicago, IL 60630

Phone: (773) 794-1818
Fax: (773) 794-1819

30 Tower Court
Suite F
Gurnee, IL 60031

Phone: (847) 662-1818
Fax: (847) 662-3001

820 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176)
Suite 118
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Phone: (815) 356-1818
Fax: (815) 356-1866

TESTIMONIALS

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I am so grateful for Advanced Fertility Center. I just had my son Leland. I want to thank Dr. Catenacci and all of the nurses that helped us. Especially Ashley in the Crystal Lake office. You made this process easier by being supportive and positive. Thank you very much!

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Dr. Sherban and his staff are the most amazing, compassionate, and supportive people. After almost 5 years of trying to conceive, going through numerous tests and meeting with another clinic closer to home, who told me my chances even with IVF were still very low, a good friend recommended advanced fertility center of Chicago. Best decision we ever made! We now have 2 amazing children who are now 5 and 3 years old! I cannot stress enough how amazing this staff is, they make you feel like family!

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Our experience was amazing with Dr. Cantanucci and all of the nurses (especially Ashley). After ttc for 4 years and at 41 years of age, we became pregnant after 1 round of IVF, and had our beautiful boy this past October. Can't thank them enough!

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2/7/15 our son was born all thanks to the assistance of Dr. Sherbahn and his staff. Everyone was so helpful and here for all our questions, worries, etc. They want this for you just as much as you want this for you! Handled with pure professionalism and care from the very start! Thank you advanced fertility!

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