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Evaluation of female infertility

Wendy Kuohung, MD
Mark D Hornstein, MD
Section Editors
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Deborah Levine, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


An infertility evaluation is usually initiated after one year of regular unprotected intercourse in women under age 35 years and after six months of unprotected intercourse in women age 35 years and older. However, the evaluation may be initiated sooner in women with irregular menstrual cycles or known risk factors for infertility, such as endometriosis, a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, or reproductive tract malformations.

The basic evaluation can be performed by an interested and experienced primary care physician or an obstetrician-gynecologist. The primary care physician generally should refer the patient to a specialist for treatment of infertility. Many gynecologists initiate treatment prior to referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. This decision depends upon the results of infertility tests and clinician experience.

Multiple tests have been proposed for evaluation of female infertility. Some of these tests are supported by good evidence, while others are not. This topic will provide an evidence-based approach to the evaluation of female infertility. The etiology and treatment of female infertility, as well as the etiology, evaluation, and treatment of male infertility, are discussed separately.

(See "Overview of infertility".)

(See "Causes of female infertility".)


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Literature review current through: May 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 26, 2016.
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