People who want a baby don’t start the Trying To Conceive (TTC) journey thinking, “I hope it takes a really long time to get pregnant!” Most couples often spend so much time trying not to conceive that they think it will happen quickly. While most females begin with a preconception consult and a plan to monitor their ovulation, most males are not as proactive. Very few couples are aware that male factors are the cause of infertility 50% of the time and this contributes to why the majority of males do not have a reproductive health evaluation. Our mission is to help couples avoid preventable delays and missteps by encouraging the simultaneous evaluation of both partners and advocating for equitable awareness of and access to male reproductive care.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), anyone trying to conceive a pregnancy within the next year should have a reproductive health evaluation. This recommendation is inclusive of all individuals heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender-nonconforming people trying to conceive.
The benefits of a male seeking a pre-pregnancy evaluation at the same time as the female partner include:
- Couples report feeling less overwhelmed and more emotionally connected with each when they approach fertility equitably. The female shoulders less of the physical and mental load alone and the male has access to qualified medical expertise that helps to calm nerves and dispel societal myths about male fertility.
- Among couples with male factor infertility, about 10% have underlying health issues. A full evaluation by a male fertility specialist can identify fertility-hindering issues that may be treatable and or completely reversible.
- It takes about 72 days to regenerate all new sperm. A semen analysis makes it possible to develop a treatment plan to improve sperm health. Evaluating the male early in the TTC process optimizes sperm health and helps improve odds of success.
Below are two TTC timelines. The one on the left is what we typically see unfold for most couples struggling with infertility. The timeline on the right is what we want to see more often and reflects an equitable, integrated couples care model.
If you’re excited about becoming a parent and hope it happens sooner rather than later, we encourage you and your partner to follow the Equitable TTC Timeline steps to avoid losing months or years to undiagnosed male factor infertility.