For the most part, there’s no need to get too concerned if it’s taking more than a few months to get pregnant. Physicians often suggest seeking a complete fertility evaluation from a reproductive specialist or your OBGYN after 6-12 months of trying to conceive with no success. It is important to understand the medical indications for seeing a fertility specialist sooner, since the occurrence of female infertility increases with age – but time isn’t necessarily on everyone’s side. If any of the following conditions apply to you, it is probably time to make an appointment with a reproductive specialist in a fertility center, sooner rather than later.
1. You have been trying…kinda
“ During initial consultation with patients, I have many who say “We haven’t used any forms of contraception in past three years, but we have only really been trying to conceive for about a six months,” which begs the question – What does “trying” really mean?” explains Dr. Jason Bromer. “No matter if you have been actively trying or not, couples having unprotected sexual intercourse for more than 6 or 12 months, depending on age, without conceiving should seek a fertility evaluation.”
“We can order specialized testing to detect subtle causes of infertility.” says Dr. Bromer. Based on the information learned through testing, reproductive specialists can offer several low-tech treatment options in addition to the widely known In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Evaluation and treatment may begin directly with a specialist, if insurance allows. All women over age forty who have been trying to have a baby without success should go directly to a specialist.
2. Your period is here, there, and nowhere –
Irregular periods usually mean irregular ovulation and worse yet, no periods may mean no ovulation, making conception feel like an uphill battle. No matter your age, if ovulation is random or never occurring, seeking the help of a specialist can help get everything back on track.
“Ovulatory disorders broadly break down into two groups: no ovulation and oligo-ovulation (frequently due to PCOS) – when ovulation occurs infrequently or irregularly.” explains Dr. Bromer. Medications such as Clomid and treatment options such as Intrauterine Insemination can induce ovulation and help patients conceive faster.
3. The Semen Analysis in your fertility work-up came back abnormal –
If you have received abnormal semen analysis results, you should see a reproductive specialist, unless your doctor offers Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), which in mild cases can help overcome male factor infertility. When the male partner’s sperm count is low or of poor quality, it can make conception significantly more difficult. Seeing a reproductive specialist can help to determine the severity of a potential male factor diagnosis and offer simple to advanced solutions to help you conceive. “The good news if you have a low sperm count, explains Dr Bromer, is that it only takes one egg and one sperm to make a great embryo.” Technology today like IVF and Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) help patients with even the lowest sperm counts overcome infertility.
4. You have experienced two or more miscarriages.
It is a common misconception that women who have miscarriages are just fine because “they can get pregnant.” “In fact, having multiple miscarriages is a very specific type of fertility problem that affects 1-3% of all couples.” explains Dr Bromer. “The majority of miscarriages can be attributed to genetic abnormalities in the embryo, while other causes include hormonal problems like diabetes, thyroid disease, undetected structural problems in the uterus, and advanced reproductive age.” Anyone who has experienced two or more miscarriages should see a reproductive specialist.
5. Treatment at the primary care or OBGYN isn’t working –
The very first thing your primary care physician will do is review your medical history and initiate fertility testing for both partners. It is very important that each of the following tests be performed prior to initiating any kind of fertility treatment, because each one evaluates male and female reproductive functions that are required to conceive.
These basic tests include:
- Day 3 blood work – Are my reproductive hormones functioning normally?
- Anti Mullarian Hormone Test – How many eggs do I have?
- Hysterosalpingogram – Is my uterus shaped normally and are my tubes open?
- Semen Analysis – Does my partner have enough sperm and are they healthy?
It’s Time to See a Reproductive Specialist
Making the move to see a specialist is a big step for many people. Patients often second-guess themselves about the need to see a specialist. Or they worry that it won’t work or how much it’s going to cost. It’s best to take it one step at a time. By scheduling a new patient consultation, which is covered by insurance in 90% of cases, you will get the answers you need to continue walking forward.
To schedule a new patient consultation or to ask questions, we encourage you to call our New Patient Call Center at 1-877-971-7755 or click here.