Many couples have a difficult time admitting there may be a problem and are reluctant to discuss the possibility that they are facing infertility. But the reality is that one in eight U.S. couples face infertility.

Communication is key

Infertility is a medical problem, so talk to your doctor. Most physicians advise you not to be concerned unless you have been trying to conceive for at least one year and are under 35. If you are over 35 and have been trying for six months, you should consult a physician.

If you have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular cycles, or if you know that your partner has a low sperm count, do not wait one year. Consult your OB/GYN. Make sure you tell your doctor about all your health conditions, your reproductive health history and information about your menstrual cycle.

"Approximately 35 percent of infertility is due to female factor and 35 percent is due to male factor, so it is important that you partner discuss fertility issues with his doctor as well."

If you have hit this 12 month mark—or the six month mark if you are over 35—make this conversation with your doctor a priority. Many issues that make pregnancy difficult can be easily treated; do not assume that you will need IVF or other high-tech treatments. Many simple diagnostic tests including a semen analysis and Day 3 blood work on the female can tell a great deal about your infertility diagnosis and course of treatment.

The conversation should not end with your OB/GYN. Approximately 35 percent of infertility is due to female factor and 35 percent is due to male factor, so it is important that your partner discusses fertility issues with his doctor as well. In the balance of cases, infertility results from problems in both partners or the cause of infertility is “unexplained.”

Overcoming obstacles

Many OB/GYNs and urologists are specially trained to treat a patient having difficulty conceiving. Doctors who specialize in infertility are board certified in reproductive endocrinology. Each reproductive endocrinologist (RE) has his or her own style, and it is important that you find one you are comfortable with. Some REs also specialize in certain fertility treatments and procedures. Finding a doctor who is best able to meet your clinical needs is another important consideration. Most fertility clinic websites have bios for each doctor, including areas of particular expertise that you can check out.

If you are struggling to get pregnant, take that important first step and talk to your doctor, so you can begin to understand your circumstances and explore your family-building options