"This is an interesting study; however I find that it leaves a few questions that need to be answered and addressed," says Dorothy E. Mitchell-Leef, M.D., a fertility doctor with Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta. For example, the researchers say they do not know whether a woman changed male partners during the study period.
"How were these women diagnosed as having infertility?" says Dr. Mitchell-Leef. "Was it documented by a specialist, or was it self-diagnosed? Women cannot be considered the only source of infertility in a couple. What male factors were involved, if any?"
The Fertility Takeaway
What should women take away from the research? Hope. If you are younger — under age 36 — and nothing is clearly wrong with either you or your partner (you are ovulating, and his sperm parameters are normal), this study gives you hope that you can get pregnant on your own.
BUT, that doesn't mean don't go see a fertility doctor to get a fertility work-up and find out if everything is working correctly. "As women age, they also have to be concerned with genetic issues," Dr. Mitchell-Leef says. "Waiting long periods of time may be a problem if their ovarian reserve becomes lower with time."
Documentation of your fertility is important. "At Reproductive Biology Associates, we try to complete the entire evaluation and history before stating that a couple is infertile," Dr. Mitchell-Leef explains. "If the woman’s FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is elevated or her AMH (anti mullerian hormone) is in the lower range, then hoping and waiting to conceive may not be enough. The age of the woman and her ovarian reserve are vitally important in counseling patients about their possible success rates and time they have to attempt a pregnancy. We want to be the patient’s advocate in helping them achieve a pregnancy — whether it is with simple treatment or more advanced technologies."