When is it appropriate to see a fertility specialist?
If you have been trying to conceive, it can be frustrating not to know precisely what is causing the problem. Knowledge is key. Advanced Reproductive Center can help you understand fertility, diagnosis, and treatments.
What Constitutes “Infertility”?
Female infertility is defined as not being able to conceive a child after one year of trying for a woman aged 34 and younger, or after six months of trying for a woman 35 and older. If you fall into one of these categories, then seeing a doctor who specializes in fertility medicine is very appropriate.
Some couples don’t meet the strict definition of infertility but have a known issue that leads to a decreased chance of having a baby. These include conditions such as menstrual cycle problems (irregular or absent menstrual cycles); fallopian tube problems including tubal surgery, ectopic pregnancy, tubal ligation (tubes tied), pelvic infections, pelvic adhesions, endometriosis; known sperm problems; a history of having trouble getting pregnant; and history of treatment with chemo or radiation therapy. If you have one of these issues or any other issue that is associated with infertility, you should see a fertility specialist sooner rather than later. It does not make sense to wait a year, or even six months, before seeing a doctor because the possibility of conception may be very low.
Trying to have a child and not succeeding is very stressful. Sometimes we see patients who have made appointments just because they have general questions about their fertility. If you have concerns, then seeing a fertility doctor is a good idea. For most of these patients, we never need to start formal fertility treatment. Often just seeing a specialist and knowing that there is no major issue can give couples the confidence to try and succeed on their own!
Treatment of Medical Conditions
The human mind and body are incredible, but also incredibly complicated. There is a long list of medical conditions that can affect fertility and lead to infertility. Some of the more common medical conditions are things like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), hyperprolactinemia (production of too much prolactin, a hormone involved in milk production), obesity, and malnutrition.
During the initial workup for fertility, we determine if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing infertility. If we find a medical condition, we can often treat the medical problem, while at the same time curing infertility. For instance, one common reason for irregular menstrual cycles is an underactive thyroid. For patients who have this condition, we can provide thyroid replacement medication. Once the thyroid levels return to normal, the menstrual cycles will often regulate themselves, and no further fertility treatment will be necessary. While most people would not consider thyroid replacement a fertility treatment, in many instances it is.
Sometimes the key to having a child is not starting fertility medications but instead treating an underlying medical condition. Advanced Reproductive Center, we perform a comprehensive evaluation of all our patients to pinpoint the cause of their infertility.
The source of infertility generally falls into one of three categories: male infertility, female infertility, or a combination of both. About 30 to 40% of infertile couples will fall into the female infertility category, and about 30 to 40% will fall into the male infertility category. About 20% of the time, infertility is, in fact, the result of both male and female factors.
Sometimes we perform a comprehensive evaluation but all of the tests turn out to be normal. In these cases, patients fall into the category of unexplained infertility. At ARC, we have developed focused expertise aimed at successfully treating unexplained infertility.
Causes of Male Infertility
Causes of Female Infertility
At Advanced Reproductive Center, we provide a comprehensive approach to care. We begin with a consultation to listen to your concerns and goals and review your health history. Next, we provide a treatment plan that takes into account the cost of treatments and success rates. Finally, we carry out the plan in a caring and supportive environment. Our approach is to support patients in the treatment plan they ultimately choose to pursue. Treatments can involve a combination of medications to help egg development and possibly intrauterine insemination (IUI), or more advanced treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF may include intracytoplasmic sperm injection, blastocyst culture, assisted hatching, preimplantation genetic testing, and embryo or egg/sperm freezing.
At Advanced Reproductive Center, we provide patients with a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and a detailed explanation of all available treatment options. We personalize every diagnostic and treatment plan to ensure that you receive the best chance of success coupled with minimum cost and maximum convenience.