Should I See a Fertility Specialist?
One in seven couples will deal with infertility in their lives. While many choose to keep it private, many celebrities and public figures, like Celine Dion and Nicole Kidman, are speaking out about their own struggles with infertility. If you, like them, are having trouble conceiving, read on to discover whether you need to see a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), also called a fertility specialist.
What's so special about a fertility specialist?
An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) is a doctor that can treat fertility problems, along with numerous other women's health issues. Fertility specialists and reproductive endocrinologists, on the other hand, are doctors that focus almost completely on infertility treatment. Unlike OB/GYNS, these specialists complete several additional years of training, equipping them to help infertile couples conceive.
Is it time to see a fertility specialist?
If you have any of the following characteristics, it might be time to sit down and make an appointment with an RE:
- You are over the age of 35 and can't get pregnant.
- You have irregular periods.
- You've had at least two miscarriages.
- You've been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and want to conceive.
- You are overweight or underweight.
- You suspect that you have a fertility problem.
Act your age!
Age plays a large role in fertility. As a result, moms-to-be in their 30s and 40s may need to run, not walk, to a fertility specialist. Did you know that:
- The older you are, the harder it is to get pregnant?
- After age 35, you are far less likely to conceive than you were in your 20s?
- By age 37, your fertility is steeply declining?
We don't want to alarm you, but age is a serious matter when it comes to family-building. If you are under 35 and are not able to conceive within a year, you may need help from a fertility specialist. If you are over 35, and have been trying to get pregnant for at least six months, seek help now. The sooner you see a fertility specialist, the better your outcome can be.
The body doesn't lie
Age plays a huge role in infertility, but it's not the only factor. Some physical illnesses and disorders can make it necessary for you to see a specialist, even if you are in your 20s. For instance, your menstrual cycles many not run on an average 24- to 34-day cycle, or maybe you don't menstruate at all. Perhaps you have a silent fertility problem, like problems with your fallopian tubes, which may not show any physical symptoms at all.
A trip to a fertility specialist may be your only chance to learn why you can't get pregnant. Remember that male factor infertility causes about 40 percent of all fertility problems. If you can't get pregnant, ask your partner to see a fertility specialist, too.
Infertility: Don't let it get you down
Yes, you've been trying to get pregnant without success, but don't assume that you will never get pregnant. These days, modern medicine can make it possible for you to have children, even if it doesn't come easily. The emotional ups and downs of making a baby may make you feel stuck, but help is available. See a reproductive endocrinologist, and get a professional opinion on whether you need fertility treatment or just need to keep trying on your own. When you are ready to contact your fertility specialist, make sure you choose the right one and are prepared for your visit.
Reviewed March 2011 by Celeste Brabec M.D., Reproductive Resource Center of Greater Kansas City.Sources