Going to see an infertility specialist is an emotional endeavor for any individual or couple. This is to be expected, considering the intensely personal nature of this particular issue. After all, most patients will never encounter a scenario that makes them feel more vulnerable or threatens their sense of pride more than having to admit they need assistance to conceive a child. That is the reality of the situation, but actually, that’s a lot more to it than that.
Aside from the discomfort and hesitation one must overcome to see an infertility specialist, what makes matters so much worse is that most people actually have little to no knowledge about what is involved with fertility treatment. As a result, fear of the unknown begins to take hold, muddying up your perception of infertility and how you might address it.
Undoubtedly, this is due in large part to the fact that infertility is a difficult topic for anyone to bring up. In order to have a fair and balanced understanding of what to expect when you see an infertility specialist, you need to break through all the myths and misconceptions that are probably standing between you and any chance you have of bringing a new baby into the world.
But when you have such long-held beliefs about how fertility clinics function and what they can do, it can be hard to know where to start to create a more realistic picture. To that end, let’s run through some common misconceptions you may unknowingly be clinging to with regard to infertility specialists.
- They can guarantee the success of your pregnancy: We’ll be real with you. No matter how much an infertility specialist wants to help you, sometimes even the most aggressive treatment options may bear no fruit. If you’ve experienced any telltale signs that you need an infertility specialist (such as repeated failure to conceive, advanced age or recurring health conditions), you should take action as soon as possible. When it comes to infertility, time is most definitely of the essence to maximize your opportunity for fertilization. So, while you may still walk away from an infertility specialist without becoming pregnant, your chances of success are infinitely better with one by your side. Plus, you won’t know for sure what the problem is until you reach out to a specialist to explore your specific situation and any options you may explore that may help you and your partner conceive a child.
- It doesn’t matter which specialist you chose for treatment: When it does come time to select an infertility specialist, be sure to do your research. Without delving into the details, you might readily assume that all specialists will approach your case the same way and have the exact same tools at their disposal. However, nothing could be further from the truth. View your specialist as a partner who can help you get to the bottom of your fertility issue and will take the time to explain the reality of your condition every step of the way. In addition, some clinics or specialists may be more well-versed in one style of care or utilize the latest research in a way that most others might not. For this reason, it’s always wise to look into a wide variety of specialists and even meet up with a few to see which is the best fit for you and your partner.
- The right infertility specialist will be able to expedite the process: Patience may be a virtue, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy, especially when you and your family’s future hangs in the balance. Because of this, it’s human nature to always search for an easier way of doing things or a shortcut that can get the same results in a fraction of the time. Well, we’re sorry to burst that particular bubble, but there exists no such miracle cure for fertility treatment. Regardless of which specialist you see, you’ll still have to confront the same system of trial and error to establish the cause of your infertility and the potential treatment options that might make a positive impact. In most cases, this treatment represents a significant time commitment and a major inconvenience to your life. So be sure to choose your specialist for the right reasons and not because you think you can sidestep the natural course of the treatment process.
- In vitro fertilization is the only solution they consider: Sure, perhaps in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most well-known and even one of the most common solutions to solving a couple’s fertility issues. Still, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is the only trick an infertility specialist has up his or her sleeve. In actuality, a variety of less invasive practices take precedence. Sometimes, lifestyle changes or addressing lingering medical concerns can do the trick, drastically increasing your chances of conception. That means your fertility treatment could be much cheaper, faster and less stressful than it would be otherwise. So, while IVF is very much a possibility, it’s by no means an inevitability when it comes to your treatment. Don’t assume that you’ll ever need to even consider IVF until after you’ve met with your specialist for initial testing and diagnosis.
- They only rely on tried-and-true methodology: Believe it or not, infertility specialists want to help you address your concerns and find a solution. It’s their job to analyze the details of your case and find a way to make conception possible, if not probable. So, naturally, most specialists are willing to embrace the latest technology and cutting-edge research if they think their patients will be able to benefit from them. While more seasoned treatment options are certainly part of specialists’ repertoire, you shouldn’t take this to mean that the latest studies aren’t being closely watched by your clinic. Identifying one that is willing to not only entertain new possibilities but actively integrate them into your treatment options could go a long way toward finding the solution that works for you.
- You won’t be able to tell much from your first consultation: First impressions say a lot. So any thoughts you might have that your first consultation with a specialist may prove uneventful should be brushed aside. After all, this is your opportunity to ask questions and explore whether you share a bond and connection with a given specialist. Do your research and walk in with a list of questions regarding treatment, the clinic’s philosophy with regards to patients and virtually anything else you have on your mind. Consider this your chance to voice your concerns, and if for some reason, your instinct tells you that a specialist isn’t the right fit for you and your partner, listen to it. As we alluded to earlier, time is a factor with infertility. You shouldn’t waste too much time with a specialist if you’re not going to pursue treatment under him or her.
- You can always trust success rates of clinics you’re considering: Statistics can be quite effective marketing tools. But that precise objective is why you need to be wary of them. Many clinics use success rates to boast about their accomplishments in the hopes of winning new business. While not outright lies, these can be manipulated a number of ways and should never be the be-all, end-all in your decision of which clinic you visit for your fertility treatment. Look instead at what a clinic has to offer and the prospects they bring to the specifics of your case. For instance, take a look at your specialist’s experience and the kinds of cases they have taken on. Has he or she been able to find solutions for patients in a predicament similar to yours? Such a revelation will be more telling as to how much a fertility clinic will be able to do for you.
- You should be patient, despite continual failure to get pregnant: If you’re already a patient at a fertility clinic and have endured many failed attempts at conceiving a child, it may be time to look elsewhere for a solution. This might sound contradictory to our claims above that you need to be patient, but you may reach a point wherein a second opinion is due. Your best bet is to communicate openly with your specialist about this and persist in your desire to try another approach rather than continuing on the same path you’ve trod down for months. If you do decide to go elsewhere, be sure to bring not only all your records but also any notes or other documentation you have of your treatment to date. This will allow the next specialist a faster route as they assess your specific situation.
- You’ll never be able to afford the treatment anyway: One of the biggest reasons many couples balk at the thought of fertility treatment is the anticipated cost involved. This is, of course, understandable, as not everyone has the resources on hand to afford some of the costlier treatment options. However, don’t let that stop you from at least looking into it. Many effective treatments are on the less expensive side, and besides, more and more insurance plans are providing coverage for fertility issues just like yours. Once you begin working with a specialist to find out what needs to be done, you can start assessing your options and how much they’ll cost. But you can only do so once you start the process. There’s no other way for a specialist to do his or her due diligence. If you make assumptions about cost, you could be missing out on your chance to actually solve the problem entirely.
- Your relationship with a specialist should remain strictly professional: Due to the personal nature of infertility, you will likely find that you and your specialist establish a firmer bond than you share with other medical professionals. While still remaining within the confines of a patient-doctor relationship, it may evolve into focusing more on the emotional side of things than you expect. Compassion should be a key part of your specialist’s bedside manner, allowing his or her role to feature frank, honest communication as well as a sensitivity to how the process might affect you and your partner. In many cases, patients are pinning their desperate hopes of starting a family on what a fertility clinic can do for them. A good specialist knows to take that into account when conducting visits and devising a treatment plan. Hold out for one who will demonstrate that kind of care with regards to your case.
Moving Toward Progress
If nothing else, we hope that this discussion has shed some light on what you might be able to achieve with an infertility specialist on your side. Whenever you’re battling against a health condition -- even one like infertility -- knowledge is the key to evaluating your symptoms, isolating a root cause and developing an effective treatment plan.
The right specialist will be able to work with you to narrow down the potential causes behind your fertility issues and better position you to take action, bringing you that much closer to holding your new baby in your arms. Isn’t it worth it to overcome your long-held misconceptions to realize your dream of becoming a new parent?
Even as you move forward with infertility treatment, there may be times when you question your own ability to see the process through and adhere to the direction of your specialist. However, by establishing regular, honest communication, you will be able to work through your misgivings to construct a strategy that will maximize your chances of conceiving a child.
The misconceptions above are merely obstacles on your way to success, and with each hurdle you clear, you’ll be chipping away at the falsehoods that once held you back. Don’t waste another moment on an outdated perception of infertility specialists. Instead, take control of your life and reclaim your treatment now. With so many specialists out there, it’s up to you to decide which one can help you move past the misconceptions you’ve acquired over the years.