What is infertility?
The National Library of Medicine defines infertility as a couple's inability to create life (conceive) after engaging in unprotected sex (intercourse) for at least 12 months, and for at least six months for women over the age of 35. Research has identified many factors, both physical and emotional, which play roles in, or cause, infertility. Our environment, with its many toxins, as well as poor diets also contribute to the issue. It is important to understand that infertility problems can have their origins in either the male or the female or both. Whatever the case, should you believe you are infertile, or at risk for infertility, you are not alone.
How common is infertility?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, about 6% of married women of child-bearing age are unable to become pregnant after one year of trying (infertility), while an additional 11% of married women of child-bearing age have difficulty becoming pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Upwards of 12 million men and women have sought help in recent years for infertility.
When should you consider seeing a infertility specialist?
Again, the year rule provides a fairly reliable marker for women under 35 years-of-age, while it is recommended, the six-month rule be followed for women over the age of 35. Women, at or above 40 years of age should seek immediate consultation. Furthermore, you should consider seeing a specialist if your menstrual periods are extremely painful, irregular, or non-existent; if you have a history of miscarriages; if you've been diagnosed with either Endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
How should you choose an infertility specialist?
While picking the right doctor is not an exact science, the following questions and considerations may help you to choose with confidence and peace of mind:
* A doctor who carries the title of “REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY AND INFERTILITY SPECIALIST” should have the following training: four years residency in the area of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) and three years sub-specialty in the area of infertility.
* What experience does the doctor have under his/her belt?
* Is he/she knowledgeable? Does he/she approach that knowledge with confidence?
* Is the doctor board certified in the sub-specialty?
* Will the doctor and his/her team answer all your questions?
* Will he/she thoroughly investigate your infertility issue and develop a treatment plan specifically tailored to your case? Doing so helps the patient to avoid any additional stress during an already stressful time.
* You are beginning a journey often referred to as the “fertility roller coaster.” You want a physician who will be there for you and with you for the entire ride.
* You will spend a good deal of time at the clinic; therefore you should find the entire team not only professional but also courteous, supportive, and attentive to your needs.