TTC: How Long Should You Wait Before Seeking Medical Advice?

TTC: How Long Should You Wait Before Seeking Medical Advice? woman holding pregnancy test hampersandhiccups

When trying to conceive (TTC), most couples are aware that they may have to wait for nature to take its course. Unfortunately, in some cases, this wait will be longer than people expect. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, you may begin to wonder at what point you should seek medical advice – a consideration that we’ve tried to examine below.

How long does it take to conceive, on average?

On average, 80% of couples will conceive within six months of trying.

However, when it comes to conception, statistics are not particularly useful. By their very nature, statistics take a snapshot of the general populace, with very little room for nuance. Some people conceive extremely quickly; others have to wait far longer than six months – both eventualities can be completely normal, and are just subject to the individuals involved. As a result, statistics alone are rarely a suitable method by which to decide when the right time is to seek further advice regarding fertility issues.

How can you decide the “right” time?

The reason we raise the issue with statistics is that there is a problem of generalization. There is no single “line in the sand”; a point at which a couple “should” have conceived.

Instead, it’s best to focus on what is reasonable for your specific circumstances rather than a generalized picture. This means assessing the following areas:

  • Age – both of you and your partner as, contrary to popular belief, male fertility also decreases with age. The older you and your partner are, the sooner you may want to consider seeking further advice
  • Underlying conditions – some health conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis can make conceiving more difficult, so you may want to seek medical advice sooner if you experience these conditions
  • Successive miscarriages – while miscarriage is relatively common, consecutive miscarriages – two or more in a row – is usually worthy of further investigation sooner rather than later

If none of the above apply, then most experts recommend waiting for six full cycles before seeking fertility advice – so six months in total. However, it’s worth noting that this is not a hard and fast rule, and some couples may find waiting for six or more months rather challenging.

What if you don’t want to wait to seek further advice?

All of the considerations above are helpful when deciding to seek further assistance regarding fertility, but ultimately, you should decide when you feel the time is right. If you wish to contact a fertility expert for semen testing or female fertility screening earlier than the notes above suggest you “should”, there’s nothing to stop you from doing so. Ultimately, you have to trust your instinct. Some specialists may recommend waiting a little longer, but it can be helpful to at least have the reassurance of a medical professional telling you that your situation is normal, so it’s still worth doing.

In conclusion

Conception is not an exact process that fits onto a regular timescale. For couples, the process will take a little longer than they may have hoped. It’s therefore helpful to take account of the circumstances under which conception can take longer than average, but primarily, follow your instincts, and seek assistance as and when you feel it necessary to do so.