You’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time – how do you know if you should see a fertility doctor? Here are five signs you should make an appointment as soon as possible.
Some women wonder if they should see a fertility doctor if they can’t get pregnant. It’s time to find a infertility specialist when you see certain tell-tale signs.
A recently published book on fertility and getting pregnant offers this helpful health – and financial – advice:
“Unless your ob-gyn specializes in infertility, works closely with a urologist specializing in infertility, and has established that your diagnosis is straightforward and treatment is not complex, you run the risk of spending money on incomplete or inappropriate diagnostic tests and treatment that may deplete your finances before you are even referred to a fertility doctor (who may require that both of you repeat the very same tests!).”
Constance Hoenk Shapiro, MSW, PhD, is the author of When You’re Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide. In the book, she describes nine signs it’s time to see a fertility doctor. I’ve listed five signs below. If you can’t get pregnant and are wondering about fertility treatments, you need to read this book! It offers emotional and medical support, and includes chapters about recovering from pregnancy loss and knowing when to stop getting fertility treatments.
And here’s how to know if you should start thinking about infertility treatments…
5 Signs You Should See a Fertility Doctor
1. You’ve been trying to get pregnant at least one year. If you’re under age 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 months, or if you’re over age 35 and you’ve been trying to conceive for more than 6 months, then you should see a fertility doctor. A woman’s chances of getting pregnant decrease as she ages — no matter how healthy she is!
If you haven’t done much research on getting pregnant, read What is Fertility? Things You Need to Know About Getting Pregnant.
2. You or your partner has chronic or past health problems. “Diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of cancer are examples of conditions that can affect sperm production and ovarian function,” writes Shapiro. Remember that male fertility issues are just as important to getting pregnant as female fertility issues! If you can’t get pregnant, it’s time for both of you to see a fertility doctor.
3. You’ve been seeing a physician for six months. If you haven’t been able to get pregnant for six months to a year, and you’ve been seeing a family doctor, and that doctor hasn’t done an infertility evaluation or fertility tests, then you should see a fertility doctor.
If you already know you should see a fertility doctor, read How Do You Get Pregnant When You Can’t Afford Fertility Treatments?
4. You have problems with your period. According to Shapiro, if you have pelvic pain, heavy periods, and/or bowel or bladder symptoms around your menstrual cycle and the physician does not suggest having a hysterosalpingogram or laparoscopy to determine the cause, then you should see an infertility doctor.
5. You want an efficient, formal fertility workup and treatment. “[You should see a fertility doctor] if you want to have your diagnostic workup and treatment performed as efficiently as possible with staff who view ‘the couple’ as the patient, and are available 365 days a year.” Going to a fertility clinic may help you feel more in control of your journey towards getting pregnant – especially if you know what to look for when choosing a fertility center.
In When You’re Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide, Shapiro suggests what to say if you’re worried about telling your ob-gyn or doctor you want to see a fertility doctor:
“Dr Smith, I have asked to meet with you to thank you for your efforts to treat my infertility and to tell you that Jim and I have decided to seek treatment at the Jackson Infertility Clinic. You have been wonderful in your care and concern for me, but we both know I am getting older. I still am not pregnant, and I want very much to look back on this painful period in my life knowing that I have done everything in my power to seek comprehensive treatment. You have been an important person for me in this process, and I hope I have your support as I move forward. If I do get pregnant, I can’t think of anyone I would want to deliver our baby more than you!”
Even if you have to print that paragraph out and read it word for word, it’s a wonderful, thoughtful way to transition from your ob-gyn or doctor to a fertility doctor!
What should you expect when you see a fertility doctor? Read How Doctors Diagnose Infertility in Men and Women.