Sadly, many women find themselves experiencing infertility despite regular periods. This can be very frustrating for couples who believe that they will have no difficulty conceiving because there are no outward symptoms of a problem.
If you have only been trying to conceive for a only few months, there is probably no cause for alarm. It takes most couples several months to conceive, but 80 percent of couples will get pregnant within 6 months.
If you have been having properly timed intercourse (to coincide with menstruation) and are still not pregnant after six months to one year, it is time to consider one of the following possibilities, all of which can cause infertility despite regular menstrual periods.
Possible Causes of Infertility Despite Regular Menstrual Periods
- Male Factor Infertility - An estimated one third of infertility cases can be traced to male infertility. If the woman is having regular menstrual periods but is not conceiving, one first step is for the male partner to get a semen analysis.
- Age - The quality of women’s eggs begins to deteriorate from the age of about 35. Even though she still has regular periods, the eggs and hormones each month may be less than ideal. A doctor can discuss options.
- Structural Infertility - Some women have structural problems which mean that ovulation or fertilization cannot take place, despite the appearance of a regular menstrual period. Possible causes include a blockage of the fallopian tubes or endometriosis. In some cases there are other symptoms (heavy bleeding, abdominal pain). Often, though, there may be no external symptoms to indicate a problem. Doctors typically use a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to diagnose these problems. Dye is injected into the cervix and the pelvic area is x-rayed, allowing doctors to chart the flow of the dye. Surgery may be required to correct the problem.
- Thyroid Problem - Thyroid problems can go undiagnosed for years, but one of the symptoms may be a failure to ovulate, despite regular menstrual periods. A thyroid imbalance can be easily diagnosed by a blood test, and then treated with prescription medication.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease - Some STDs can cause infertility, but may produce no external symptoms. A doctor can diagnose and (if necessary) treat an STD with a simple blood test.
Even after ruling out all of the above possibilities, some couples still find themselves unable to conceive. They find themselves with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility, despite regular menstrual periods and no other indications of a problem.
Should this occur, the key is to continue to self-educate. Seek a second opinion; request a second round of blood tests, etc. Most importantly, continue to discuss options with your doctor.
Most cases of infertility accompanied by regular menstruation can be easily diagnosed and treated. Even in cases of unexplained infertility, an estimated 80% of couples eventually go on to become pregnant, some with fertility treatments, some on their own.
As is always the case, the best advice is to see your doctor sooner, rather than later, and to educate yourself so that you know what questions to be asking.