About 10% of couples in the United States are infertile. Infertility is a condition in which a woman has not been able to get pregnant after 6–12 months of having sex without using birth control. Before being treated for infertility, you and your partner must be evaluated by a doctor. This may help pinpoint the cause or causes of infertility. The type of treatment you receive depends on what may be causing the infertility.


For healthy, young couples having sex, the odds are about 20% that a woman will become pregnant during any one menstrual cycle. This figure starts to decrease in a woman’s early 30s and decreases even more after age 37 years. A man’s fertility also declines with age, but not as early. Many women and couples today choose to delay parenthood. Because they are older, they may have problems conceiving.


If you are not able to get pregnant after 12 months of unprotected sex, your doctor can evaluate you and your partner. If you are older than age 35 years or have certain medical problems, tests should be started earlier.


Infertility may be caused by a problem with the woman, the man, the couple, or their lifestyle. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) also may reduce a couple’s fertility. Infertility may be caused by more than one factor. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Problems with ovulation
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Health or quality of sperm

Sometimes a cause cannot be found.


For more information on infertility, visit the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists here and here.