8:46 pm - 04/19/2006

how to tell if you're infertile?

Ok, I am 19 years old, and I have a serious fear of being infertile.. I don't have any abnormalities with my period other than really severe cramping, and it isn't in my family history, I just have a really bad fear about not being able to have a child. Is there any way I can tell if I am? Symptoms? Tests of some sort? Anything would help me out... I know this is crazy, and I'm not planning on having babies anytime soon, but i DO want them.. and just am so freaked out.. So yeah, I know it'a a weird question, but entirely serious. Thanks.
_anxi0us 20th-Apr-2006 01:59 am (UTC)
I have the same fear. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and there's an elevated risk of infertility when you have it, so ya... *hugs*
arrien 20th-Apr-2006 02:17 am (UTC)
and cancer, and diabetes, and weight gain, and heart disease.. :P

PCOS is grand, I tell ya.
terrenepixy 20th-Apr-2006 03:27 am (UTC)
Just a freakin party.

I didn't know it was related to diabetes - is there also a risk for hypoglycemia with it? 'Cause if there is I'm gonna go postal over at Kaiser. XD Heh.

But seriously, does anyone know if theres a link?

And to the OP, I'm right there with you, seriously. I'm 16 and the idea that I may never have kids is driving me nuts.
arrien 20th-Apr-2006 04:20 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they're not directly linked (as in, hypoglycemia isn't a direct side effect of PCOS), but I think certain medications (like metformin) can lead to hypoglycemia if not monitored.
terrenepixy 20th-Apr-2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Interesting. Thanks!
datagoddess 22nd-Apr-2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
There's believed to be a correlation between PCOS and insulin resistance, which is kind of a souped-up version of hypoglycemia. Most women who have PCOS also have insulin resistance - they're not sure exactly what the connection between them is, though.

Did your doctor do a glucose tolerance test?
terrenepixy 22nd-Apr-2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
I knew that, I'm just still not quite sure what the connection between all of this is. Heh.

And no, not that I'm aware of ... I described my symptoms, and based on them, my history of anorexia, and the good two years I spent on Prozac, my doctor at Kaiser told me I'm hypoglycemic. I've been workinn off of that ever since. X_x I have new doctors now, though.
eumelia 20th-Apr-2006 02:01 am (UTC)
I don't know what the test is called, but you can always talk to your gyno and ask him/her about it.
It's always best to talk to your doc.
soakedinstars 20th-Apr-2006 02:03 am (UTC)
garg, i dont have a gyno here yet. heh. i just moved and don't get medical insurance for another year.
erikalyn 20th-Apr-2006 02:01 am (UTC)
I can't answer your question but I know exactly how you feel. I'm 19 as well and have been afraid of being infertile since I was 14.. I actually used to be more worried when I was younger than I am now but it still lingers in the back of my mind.
geminigirl 20th-Apr-2006 02:13 am (UTC)
Often, infertility isn't diagnosed until someone has been trying to concieve for a while-for many people it's six months while having regular sex, and charting fertility signs, (basal body temp, cervical position and texture, and cervical mucous) or twelve months while having regular sex and not charting. After that, a health care provider will start to do things like hysterosalpingiogram, hormone level screenings, and so on.
arrien 20th-Apr-2006 02:16 am (UTC)
you'd need to get your hormone/blood levels checked and then there are several procedures that follow after that. There aren't any "run of the mill" tests that docs do "just because" though. They're generally done when a woman and her partner have been trying unsuccessfully for at least a year for a baby.

I have PCOS and have been trying to have a baby for almost five years. it totally sucks.
maggiewatchie 20th-Apr-2006 02:17 am (UTC)
I have had similar fears from time to time. I've been told by my mother (perhaps not the best source for medical info, but still) that if you have normal periods (as in, it doesn't disappear for months at a time) that there's no real reason to worry. Since I've always had regular periods, even when not on HBC, this calmed my fears greatly. But if having further testing (which I would guess would be expensive and difficult to prove "necessary" to an insurance company if you are not having any problems trying to conceive) would make you feel better, certainly pursue that!
gothstar 20th-Apr-2006 05:05 am (UTC)
Not true.


My cousin has been told she is infertile (not 100% but the doctor said the chance of her ever becoming pregnant is less than a half of a percent) and she gets regular periods.
teri_lynn 20th-Apr-2006 11:45 am (UTC)
It isn't necessarily true that if you're getting normal periods, there's nothing to worry about. Women with endometriosis get periods, and some of them are infertile. My friend has tried to conceive for three years with regular periods and nothing yet.
shakidaisy 20th-Apr-2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Also, keep in mind that some women are diagnosed as being infertile but they are still able to have children (naturally, through IVF, etc). Fertility is still somewhat mysterious!

One thing you can do is start checking and charting your "fertility signs" which include basal body temp, cervical mucus, and cervix position. One great resource is "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, MPH. I love this book so much and you'll be able to learn TONS more about your cycle.
storychick 20th-Apr-2006 04:39 am (UTC)
I second TCOYF.
damonsgirl 20th-Apr-2006 02:34 am (UTC)
dont freak....

but i knew i was going to get glasses YEARS before i did

Knew i was going to get braces YEARS before i did

and i knew i was infertile since i was 8 and i am.

every feeling i have comes true. sometimes it works out well sometimes it doesnt.
quixotic 20th-Apr-2006 03:31 am (UTC)
i'd think that's very unusual, though. considering how frequently things like this occur compared to how much people fear and anticipate them, it's probably not likely that the op isn't in the same boat.

-a
_anxi0us 20th-Apr-2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Tons of people worry about infertility and are, in fact, fertile.
jennifer0246 20th-Apr-2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
how do you know you're infertile, if you don't mind my asking?
katarokkar 20th-Apr-2006 02:50 am (UTC)
I wonder about that sometimes, but it never freaks me out or anything because really, unless you have something very, very wrong with you (that would probably have been diagnosed by now) there are so many fertility treatments, IVF etc.

You could always adopt, too.
queensugar 20th-Apr-2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Just some quick facts: according to American Society of Reproductive Medicine, about 10% of the reproductive-age population is infertile. So already, there is a 90% chance that you are not infertile.

However.

"Reproductive age" can be a bit misleading. Women who are 40 would be considered "reproductive age," though we know that women's fertility starts declining at around age 32. So that plays a factor.

Second of all, the majority of women who are infertile under those stats are infertile because of explicable medical reasons... things that would more than likely have noticeable symptoms at some point in your life... things like pelvic inflammatory disease, PCOS, and endometriosis.

Here's a link to some infertility causes, from the Mayo Clinic:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=3

So basically... unless you have an identifiable disorder or reproductive health problem, the chances of you being infertile are incredibly low. I saw one study where less then 0.3% of female patients had unexplainable infertility problems.

So chances are, you're quite fertile. :) And if you're not... not only do many couples have a lot of success with fertility treatments (not just IVF, but other medical options), but by the time you choose to have children, it's quite likely there will be even more options out there. So really, don't let yourself worry too much.
noabsolutes 22nd-Apr-2006 10:03 pm (UTC)
In the world of medicine, the ages given for fertility in women are between the ages of 15 and 44. (They know there are outliers on both ends, but those are the averages).
switch_fluffles 20th-Apr-2006 04:10 am (UTC)
I am 19 years old to, but the difference is I am trying to have children now. I am completey afraid or being infertile to, because I want children more than anything else in the world. I am glad you posted this question it shows that there are people with simular problems and feelings. thanks
quarble 20th-Apr-2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
Up until (almost exactly) a year ago, I too thought I was infertile. Ya see, following my ordeal with ovarian cysts in high school, an ultrasound technician said the position of my uterus could make it difficult to conceive. I was an idiot, and took that to mean that I had a sort of built-in birth control. Last April, I learned the hard way that an ultrasound technician is not a doctor who can diagnose infertility. I got pregnant at 21, and decided to get an abortion because I knew I was not capable of raising a child at this point in my life.

This is meant to both reassure you that just because you think you're infertile does not mean that you are, and to caution you against taking risks because you might assume that you can't get pregnant. Always use some sort of contraception, because while believing yourself to be infertile is awful, it's even worse when you find out you're not through an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

I don't mean to be preachy here, but be careful not to accidentally prove yourself wrong.
tokori 19th-Mar-2009 11:53 am (UTC)
I actually had almost the same thing happen at a slightly older age and ended up in the same circumstances. .

I totally agree- be careful.
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I am 19 too, and I have that same fear. I am afraid I am infertile because I have had irregular periods, it runs in my family, and I have HPV which is a sexually transmitted disease that you can get even if you use condoms and it causes the precancerous cells in your cervix (there are many forms of HPV but the one I have is the most common) and can cause cervical cancer and greatly reduce my chances of concieving and/or carrying a child to term. There is an article about it in this month's Teen Vogue. I could probably get pregnant, but I would probably miscarry because of my HPV. It sucks, because I don't sleep around, and I have only had sex with 4 men, and (thought at the time) I was in love. I thought condoms were enough...

My mom wasn't infertile, but it took her a year of trying to be able to have me, and then my brother came along 14 months later and she and my dad weren't trying. Some people are really really fertile and can get pregnant just by looking at a penis it seems (jk) but some people are perfectly normal and it takes them a long long time to ever have a baby.
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 02:46 pm (UTC)
oh yeah. I forgot to mention, I was still concieved even though my dad has a varicose vein thing... its in the mayo clinic link. Miracles happen.
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
woah what?
Where did you hear that your HPV would cause reduced chances of getting pregnant?? I have never ever heard that before and I have HR HPV myself..
Far as I know, it is the treatments that can cause that due to weakening of the cervix in some cases..NOT the HPV itself.
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
ack that sounded a little mean, I just realized! Sorry I was just shocked, I had never heard anyone say that before. :)
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Its okay. I didn't think it sounded mean at all. It shocked me too. I found out the day after my birthday in January, and my boyfriend and I had a huge fight the night before. It was so awful. On that day I had the biopsy too, and I thought I was going to die. I was so so so so so shocked. Everything that everyone had told me about preventing STD's was totally wrong. I thought I was doing okay because I was using condoms even though I am birth control. I was being careful, everyone I ever slept with was tested beforehand. I even went with them. After I found out that I had it I made my boyfriend go back to the doctor to get tested and they said that he didn't have HPV. So I called my doctor and he said that usually even if they test for it in males they won't find it unless they have the kind that gives them genital warts, and I don't have that kind. His doctor didn't take a urine sample or test his penis in any other way except for that he looked at it and said that if he had HPV he'd have genital warts. Um, I don't have them... I was lucky enough not to get that particular strand of bacteria. It makes me so angry... I was so shocked.
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
Same here. I'd always been super safe, always used condoms and HBC. Checked my partners sexual history..everything! But the fact that they can't test for HR HPV in males is defintiely scary. Probably why it is so prevalent among sexually active women, because the men don't even know they are spreading it. I feel lucky too...I seriously do not know how I would handle having a strain that would visably remind me of what I have. If that makes sense?
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
It makes sense. I hate watching commercials about stds, I hate hearing about them, I hate talking about it... the medical industry frustrates me... I never even knew what HPV until I found out I had it. No one ever told me, and yet the disease is SOOOO common!!
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Same here! I signed up for a study for HPV, not really thinking anything of it, I didnt even really know what it was. And *poof!* my life is changed. Its definitely something that needs to be more out there! Because of all the STD's the consequences (cancer) are pretty damn serious.
zombitty 19th-Jan-2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Omg! I had the same experience back in 08 when i was 17! Except i had a different std, but tha doctor told him tha same thing! I was so upset..I had only had 3 boyfriends in my whole life and each of them i was in love w/at tha time. I never slept around but with them 3 and to find out that non of them had it..it left me feeling confused, angry and lost. I couldn't have given it to myself so it drove me crazy. Now that i'm 19 and now engaged to my 3rd boyfriend..i've currently been off of bc and i'm starting to wonder if i'm infertile. Then again i've only been off of it fer 3 er 4 months now. Still i want to have kids some day, I'm just wondering if my std will have anything to do w/trying to get pregnant.
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
My doctor told me. He said that since the treatments of it could weaken my cervix it would reduce my chances. I called the health department in my city to ask if it was true (imagine my shock right?) and they said yes, and that I also may not be able to carry a baby to term because of when you get pregnant and take the pre-natal vitamins it makes the tissue in your body grow more than normal and all that so it can also make the precancerous cells start making cancer grow too, and cause me to miscarry. They told it was very rare for it to happen though. When I start planning on having children I am going to go to the doctor and do a bunch of research to make sure. I also have had anorexia and infertility runs in my family, so all those piled up plus HPV doesn't make my chances very good at all. If I were you I would not worry, because they did say it was rare and I heard they are trying to come up with a cure for it because its such a common disease. There is also a vaccine coming out for it too hopefully that they are going to give to like, 11 and 12 year olds.
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
Ya I heard abou the vaccine as well, thats extremelyyyyy exciting!
I totally agree though with the treatments causing problems, considering they are taking parts of your cervix away in some cases, so thats more understanable. Just to clarify though, Its not the HPV itself that causes problems, rather its the treatments .
Personally, Im trying not to worry about it. A huge amount of sexually active females have high risk hpv and don't even know it. Many of them having normal healthy babies!
Good luck with everything :)
paintedblue120 20th-Apr-2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
I am just glad that if I do have a baby I won't pass it along to the child.
xcrashx 20th-Apr-2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
definitely seconded!
photobooth15501 20th-Apr-2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
My mom had me when she was 45! When her period stopped she actually thought it was menopause. Lots of women stay fertile for a really long time.

I go back and forth from being really intensely afraid of being pregnant (because I'm 19, unmarried, uninsured, and broke) and being scared that some day I'll end up being infertile. I know this probably won't make much of a difference and you will probably with I am the corniest bastard around, but I like to think of the serenity prayer at times like this.

"Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference"

My sister-in-law got breast cancer at the age of 32. She had to have a chemical hysterectomy (basically you take huge doses of medication that make your ovaries totally inactive) and it was very, very difficult for her. She had a two year old at the time and coming from a family of five kids she really wanted to have more. Five years later, she's actually HAPPY to just have one child, and although she COULD probably get pregnant again, she doesn't want to anymore.

So basically I would suggest going with the flow. You may THINK you know what you want now (a huge family of your own kids, perhaps?) but in ten or fifteen years you may decide that what you really want is to be childless, or to adopt kids. And that's assuming you can't have kids, which is very unlikely!

Enough rambing!
snowowl 22nd-Apr-2006 10:58 am (UTC)
They have disposable hormone tests at drug stores you can buy to see if you're ovulating. Just estimate fourteen days prior to your next period and take the tests for say, three months, and look at the results. The tests should be able to tell you if you're ovulating. I don't know how much the disposable tests are, unfourtunatley.

I use the Persona Monitor, which measures estrogen and luteinizing hormones to determine when I'm fertile each month. :o) That's a bit more expensive than the disposable tests, though, I'm pretty sure.
xo_k_lee_xo 9th-Jun-2011 01:58 am (UTC)
I am 18 years old and i have always been wondering how come im not pregnant i was raped at 12 and 13 and they gave me a std then i took some pills and stuff and i was wondering if that affected my chance of being pregnant
ashleydanielle2 frustrated!7th-Nov-2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
Im 21 years old and my fiance and I are currently trying and have been for about 2 months now. We try everyday and still nothing has happened. I know I havent been trying for very long but I'm starting to get discouraged becaue it hasnt happened yet. I've quit smoking, exercise regularily, eat very healthy and havent been on any kind of birth control for years now. My mom had her first surgery for endometriosis when she was 15 and also had her right ovary removed during that time due to cysts. She has been warning me for some time now that i may have troubles conceiving due to this. I went to the gyno about 2 years ago now and he said everything looked good. I dont understand! im completely frustrated. Also when I was 15 I found out that I was pregnant and had an abortion. Im really nervous that, that could have some role to play in all of this. I really hope i am able to conceive. My fiance ad I really want to be able to have children!does anyone know how long it usually takes to be able to conceive when your eating healthy and exercising regularly? or any tips would be much appreciated!

Edited at 2011-11-07 07:04 pm (UTC)
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