Patient Resources

Signs You May Have a Fertility Problem

There are a few possible warning signs of infertility. While many couples will not experience signs or symptoms, if you do experience any, you should talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor will diagnose you as being infertile after a year of trying to conceive. However, you do not have to try for a year to know if there may be a problem. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your partner. 

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Irregular periods are normal when menstruation begins, it will take your body some time to get regulated. However, once your teenage years are behind, your cycles should be regular. An irregular cycle can be considered a red flag for infertility problems. If your cycles are unusually short or long, you should speak with your doctor right away. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of irregular cycles and ovulation related infertility. 


Being overweight or underweight can play a major role in your fertility, and can lead to trouble conceiving. If you are overweight, research has found that losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can jump start ovulation. Being overweight or underweight can also have an effect on male fertility. Men with a BMI below 20 may be at risk for lower sperm concentration and sperm counts. 

History of STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases can be the cause of infertility as infection and inflammation from illnesses such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause blockage within the fallopian tubes. This puts women at risk for ectopic pregnancy if left untreated. The same applies to men, as infection can lead to scar tissue within the male reproductive tract which makes semen transfer almost impossible. If you have any symptoms of an STD, you should see your doctor right away. 

Smoking and Alcohol Habits

It is well known that drinking and smoking while pregnant is never justified. However, smoking and drinking while trying to get pregnant may also pose a problem. Smoking is connected to erectile dysfunction and negatively affects sperm counts, sperm shape, and sperm movement. In women, smoking can speed up the process of ovarian aging, bringing on earlier menopause. Studies have found that a few drinks a week won’t cause any harm, but excessive drinking has been linked to lower sperm counts, poor sperm movements, and irregular sperm shape. 


The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.

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