You can be considered infertile if you have not been able to conceive after 1 year of sex without using birth control. But some people who have an diagnosis do go on to become pregnant.
- In couples who conceive a pregnancy without treatment, 85% will conceive during the first year of trying to become pregnant. Up to 93% of couples will become pregnant without treatment during 2 years of trying.2
- Infertile couples whose fertility test results are normal are diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." Of all couples with unexplained infertility who do not seek treatment, about 35% will naturally become pregnant within 3 years, and 45% do so within 7 years.1
Major factors that affect your chances of conceiving with or without treatment include age, how long you have been trying to conceive, and the cause of infertility.
- Female fertility normally decreases with age. The older a woman is (particularly over age 35), the less likely she is to become pregnant and the more likely she is to . This is primarily due to the aging of her egg supply. A woman who is over 40 and fails to ovulate despite medicine, or who does not respond to therapy, is encouraged to use donor eggs.
- A couple's chances of conceiving are greatest within their first 3 years of trying. After 3 years of sex without birth control, pregnancy is considered unlikely without treatment.2
- If a clear cause of infertility can be determined and if there is a promising treatment for that cause, pregnancy is more likely. Treatment for unexplained infertility is less likely to be successful. But medicines or assisted reproductive techniques may still be effective.
Some couples who have tried infertility treatment without success become pregnant later without more treatment.
Personal concerns related to infertility include:
For more information, see:
- Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?
- Infertility: Should I Have Treatment?