What to Ask Your Family Doctor About Infertility

Are you wondering what to ask your family doctor about infertility? Here is some helpful information. 

Many women who have trouble getting pregnant often see their family doctor first, before they see an OB/GYN or reproductive endocrinologist (RE)

What is a family doctor?
Before you know what to ask your family doctor about infertility, it is important to understand what a family doctor does. A family doctor is a general practitioner more commonly called a “primary care physician.”

Your family doctor is often the primary gatekeeper of your medical care. This healthcare professional knows the specialists you see and may be the one that gives you referrals to other doctors. The family doctor should have on record all the medications, including over-the-counter drugs, you take. Ideally, the family doctor is the one who raises red flags if there’s a possible drug interaction between different medications.

Family doctors are concerned with your overall health and well-being, including physical, mental and emotional problems. Your family doctor keeps track of your height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and other key health measurements. This doctor prescribes any necessary medications or treatments for general health problems.

The family doctor is familiar with all aspects of general medicine and should be a good diagnostician. Your family doctor may see all members of your family (family medicine) and often provides “cradle to grave” care.

What should I ask a family doctor about infertility?
A family doctor may perform basic gynecological testing such as annual exams, breast exams, and PAP tests. Some family doctors are trained in obstetrics and gynecology and care for pregnant women, even delivering their babies.

It is perfectly fine to talk openly with your family doctor about your pregnancy concerns. Here are some fertility issues you may want to bring up with your family doctor:

  • Ask whether your personal medical history may affect your fertility. 
  • Make sure your partner is with you as it is possible that male factor infertility problems could also be making it harder for you to get pregnant. 
  • Discuss your family history. Sometimes infertility and hormone problems run in families. Your doctor should know your family history. 
  • Talk about your menstrual cycle and ovulation cycles to see if your cycles are normal.
  • Ask about lab tests to see if there are imbalances in your hormones or other problems. 

Your family doctor may be able to refer you to an OB/GYN or reproductive endocrinologist for further testing.

In addition to providing treatment for your general health problems, many family doctors work closely with OB/GYNs and reproductive endocrinologists when a referral is needed. When it comes to what to ask your family doctor, your questions will be the beginning of  meaningful dialogues that may grow to include other specialists along your path to parenthood.

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