Couples yearning to have a baby often wonder about the right time to consult professionals. Melissa Yih, M.D., of IVF New Jersey (IVF NJ), frequently counsels couples and has specific recommendations.

“In general, couples trying to conceive for a least a year should come to IVF NJ so we can do some basic fertility tests,” Dr. Yih said.

And while the tests may be simple, the issues become more complicated with age. Those over 35 are urged to see a specialist if they’ve been trying without success for six months. Aspiring parents who’ve hit the four-decade mark need to consider fertility help after only three months of trying.

“When we hit 40, our biological clock really is ticking fast,” Dr. Yih explained. “Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and start to run out more quickly once they are over 35 years of age. Additionally, the egg quality diminishes, which impacts fertility.”

Regardless of age, the first step is to document ovulation and time intercourse appropriately. Dr. Yih says consumers can secure an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit at the local pharmacy. This kit tracks certain hormones, and indicates optimal time for conception.

“When timing doesn’t work, we then move to three basic tests,” Dr. Yih said. “First, we check the ovarian reserve by testing for the FSH hormone. When FSH is high, it’s a sign the egg supply is diminishing, which means fewer oocytes or egg follicles, and decreased fertility.”

Next, IVF NJ specialists do a hysterosalpingogram to check for anatomical abnormalities and blocked fallopian tubes. The test involves dye injected into the uterine cavity, followed by an X-ray. Last, but not least, the potential father undergoes a semen analysis to ascertain number of sperm, how they are moving and how they look under a microscope. Of course, both partners also undergo basic blood work and a general health screening.

“The treatment is based on what we find,” added Dr. Yih. “In 30 percent of cases it’s the female factor only; 30 percent male factor alone; 30 percent combination of female and male factor issues. In 10 percent of cases, everything tests normal, and we simply can’t offer an explanation. Numerous treatment options are available and depend on the cause of infertility.”

Those treatment options include further testing to help time intercourse appropriately, artificial insemination and, where there’s a severe male factor or a blocked fallopian tube, in vitro fertilization. IVF NJ also has the resources to assist couples with gestational surrogacy and egg donation when indicated.

IVF NJ helps women who have other reproductive system or endocrinology issues, such as recurrent miscarriage and endometriosis. Women throughout central New Jersey can find a fertility specialist at one of IVF NJ’s offices: Hamilton (opened June 6, a move from Lawrenceville), Somerset, Freehold and Annandale. The Somerset office is open every day of the year except for Christmas and New Year’s. General office hours at all three offices are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In Vitro Fertilization of New Jersey. 800-483-6544.

3379 QuakerBridge Road, Suite 105, Hamilton. 609-799-5666. Fax: 609-219-0742. (relocated from Lawrenceville, effective June 6)

81 Veronica Avenue, Somerset. 732-220-9060. Fax: 732-545-1164

495 Iron Bridge Road, Suite 10, Freehold. 732-577-6500. Fax: 732-577-6510.

1465 Route 31 South, Concourse at Beaver Brook, Annandale. 908-238-1220.

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