If your OB-GYN or GP has recommended that you see a fertility doctor or specialist, don’t stress out—one in six couples seeks medical intervention to help them conceive. Moving forward with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) is a good idea, as they are the doctors that treat infertility 24/7 and are the experts in the medical world. An RE is an OB-GYN who has completed an additional three years of training, or more in some circumstances, to learn how to identify infertility factors and suggest and implement methods that will hopefully help you get pregnant.
Once you choose a fertility doctor, and set up an appointment, you may want to gather your past medical records (and your partner’s) to bring with you. At the appointment the doctor will try to get a comprehensive medical picture of you by asking questions, ranging from how long you’ve been trying to even what you do for a living or what medications you have taken, and anything else they think will be related to your fertility journey. You may also do some fertility-related tests, such as a blood test, an ultrasound, and possibly a semen analysis (SA) for male factor (some facilities don’t have this capability, so they’ll schedule it for him elsewhere, but most fertility clinics should have this on-site). And depending on your medical history, the RE may also suggest ovarian reserve testing (ORT), which estimates the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs – women over the age of 30 should strongly consider having this tested. While female age is still the best predictor of reproductive success, ORT can give a sense of whether or not a couple should start aggressively pursuing fertility treatments.
Once you get the results from these preliminary tests, you’ll schedule a follow-up appointment to evaluate all your treatment options and the likelihood of success for each. It’s also important to keep in mind that although these initial appointments are generally covered by insurance, many treatment plans, such as hormone injections, and ART, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) and third-party reproductive services (egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation or surrogacy) that the RE might eventually suggest may not be, so find out what your insurance does and doesn’t cover, and ask about financial options as well.
At Santa Monica Fertility we are always available to answer any questions you may have about infertility or trying to conceive. Call or email us anytime to ask questions or to book a consultation!