Prior to arrival at the office, the patient is asked to fill out, at home with the partner, a detailed fertility questionnaire The history begins with an assessment of the couple's prior and current fertility status. The age of the partners and the duration of unprotected intercourse is established. Fertility evaluation is appropriate sooner rather than later when the female partner is over age 35 or there has been a history of infertility in a prior relationship or risk factors leading the couple to suspect that a fertility problem exists (eg, cryptorchidism, testicular neoplasm, chemotherapy).
For idiopathic infertility the chance of ultimate success is inversely related to the duration of infertility. Female age is an important factor. Our in vitro fertilization (IVF) program's results steadily and inexorably decline after age 34. It should be established as to whether the infertility is primary or secondary for each partner and, if secondary, the nature and outcome of prior pregnancies with the same or any previous partner. Any previous infertility evaluation or treatment for either partner should be noted as well.