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Houston Fertility Journal

    4 Qualities You Really Need in an Infertility Specialist

    November 6, 2017 / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

    Center of Reproductive Medicine


    It is not an easy task to find a doctor that is a complete fit for you. On top of the overwhelming amount of options you are presented with, the subject matter that you are dealing with is already stressful enough as it is.

    Being faced with the plethora of issues that may arise when seeing an infertility specialist, and knowing when those those things are to be expected or a reason to get out fast is confusing to say the least. When it comes down to it though, there are some easy ways to tell if you have made the right choice in a fertility doctor.

    A lot of it has to do with instinct, but if you need more than that, there are ways to properly assess the facts. In this article we will discuss 4 qualities that you should really be paying attention to when it comes to figuring out if your doctor is dependable and someone you should continue to seek treatment from.

    Maybe it is time to explore other avenues, and that is okay. Still, you don’t want to make any drastic decisions when you have chosen to invest your time and money with this person. At the end of the day, just remember that this is your life, and you have to do what is right for you.

    Trust yourself and make sure you are only ever making the best choices that concern you and your family’s well being.

    #1 -- Make Sure That You Can Confide In Your Specialist And Can Be Completely Yourself With Them


    You essentially should be able to tell a lot just by the way you are treated from your first consultation at a clinic. Just like any first important meeting, a first impression is defining. Now, you may have read some stellar reviews about this specialist or the success rates appear to be high.

    Those things aren’t necessarily always enough. Even if you feel a connection with your doctor, how does their place of work make you feel? Your entire treatment experience should include:

    • Feeling welcome and warm in the environment.
    • Flexibility of schedule so you do not feel like your time constraints are inconvenient to them.
    • Recognition of you by the staff in a personal way so you don't just feel like another number in their roster.
    • Extra services or at least references to things like support groups, counseling, and financial help.
    • Protection and consideration about other health assistance you may require separate from fertility treatment.
    • 100% transparency about the diagnostic tests they plan to perform and for what.
    • The undeniable feeling of hope and dedication.
    • A sense of urgency and excitement to get your treatment underway.

    All of these examples may seem obvious, but in the moment you may feel like you are being too picky. Do not worry about that, you should be picky in situations such as these.

    #2 -- Make Sure That They Are Qualified And Only Providing You With The Most Up To Date Treatment


    Some people do not realize how essential it is to do a background check on doctors they are considering. The fact that the doctor works for a reputable company or has had a lot of clients may make them appear reliable enough.

    Still, it is essential that you have a completely clear picture of your doctor’s credentials, you are putting a lot of trust in them. Take some time to look into whether they are licensed. Each state requires a license for doctors. You can look up every doctor at your state’s physician licensing board. If a doctor does not have a license, they should not be practicing medicine.

    Before receiving treatment, here are a few things to consider.

    They are board certified.

    Do some research on whether or not your doctor is board certified in fertility. Sometimes doctors can be board certified in another area, but practice a different area of medicine.

    Where they went to medical school.

    It is helpful to get an idea of your doctor’s education, especially if they are younger and just getting started with the practice.

    Their age.

    Sometimes age doesn't matter, and you may feel as though you’re discriminating by analyzing this information. Yet, there are some important things to take note of when it comes to the age of a doctor and their qualifications. If a doctor is much older than you, they may end up retiring before you have accomplished what you set out for in treatment with them.

    Yet, you may be more drawn to an older doctor who has been in the practice for a long time. Younger doctors, however, have graduated from school more recently and therefore have been taught to use more modern equipment.

    How long have they been in practice.

    The main thing here is you want to find someone with longevity. If the doctor has not been in one practice for very long, but jumps around a lot, that may be something to analyze further.

    What hospitals the doctor is affiliated with.

    It has become apparent that some hospitals are inclined to perform more medical mistakes than others. It could do you some good to find out where your doctor has been employed and also know the credentials of those specific locations.

    If they have published any research on infertility.

    If the doctor has been involved in published infertility research, the way that they were involved should matter to you. This could mean that they are considered an expert in the field and are extremely dedicated to learning more about it. However, they may also being paid by certain companies for such research and have ulterior motives for treating you that you are unaware of. Knowing your doctors background and business affiliations can be enlightening in many ways.

    To piggyback on your doctor being adequately qualified, it is also essential that they are aware of all of infertility treatments and latest finds and practices.

    The most current ways to treat infertility is with medication or surgical repair of the reproductive organs. There is also the option of doing some cycles of ovarian stimulation followed by intrauterine insemination.

    These days, couples are most drawn to the treatment with the highest success rate, which is in vitro fertilization (IVF). Certain people, especially older women, find success by using donor eggs. If a woman is over the age of 43, using donor eggs is a more realistic approach.

    There are also new studies showing that acupuncture before embryo transfer could increase the pregnancy rate. As knowledge of facts such as these continue to be discovered, your doctor should not only be aware of them, but have integrated them into the understanding of their practice and how these things may relate to you.

    #3 --  Make Sure That They Are Transparent With You And That You Trust That They Are Giving You The Best Advice


    Your doctor should not be holding back from telling you the truth about the probability of pregnancy and the risks that you may be taking due to your situation. A trustworthy doctor will broach these topics with you and talk with you in detail about them so as not to give you any false hope and ensure that you are fully aware of what you are getting into. It should be evident that this treatment is completely about you, and not about them or how they feel.

    Health risks that your doctor should make you aware of include:

    The treatment being unsuccessful.

    Some women may not find success with this level of treatment. This can be financially and emotionally stressful. You should be fully prepared to deal with the potential of unsuccessful treatment. However, a lot of healthcare providers now offer partial or full refunds for patients who are unsuccessful.

    Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

    With the use of fertility drugs comes the risk of a reaction called ovarian hyperstimulation. This is when the ovaries swell and may become painful. Patients that contract this can experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. However, in more severe cases, the condition could lead to kidney failure or blood clots.

    Stress from treatment.

    The treatment process is taxing on each individual that is involved. The amount it costs, the emotional dedication, and the effect it has on you physically. Your physician should provide you with some frame of reference on how to deal with this stress during treatment and afterwards.

    Possibility of miscarriage.

    Miscarriage rates after treatment ride close to natural conception. For women using frozen eggs, they may be slightly higher. These possibilities are something your doctor should discuss with you.

    Ectopic pregnancy.

    An ectopic pregnancy can happen if the fertilized embryo settles in the fallopian tubes instead of uterus. This can be risky for a woman’s health and usually means the pregnancy should be terminated altogether, since the baby will not be able to survive in such circumstances. Between 2% and 5% of IVF pregnancies are ectopic, which is about the same as natural conception statistics.

    Early birth and low birth weight.

    Pregnancies that are a result of IVF show a slightly higher chance of premature delivery or low birth weight. Babies in such circumstances may be born with:

    • Infection from a war immune system
    • Hypoglycemic, due to metabolism issues
    • Gastrointestinal issues
    • Difficulty regulating their temperature
    • Anemia
    • A hard time breathing
    • Bleeding in the brain from hemorrhaging
    • Heart problems
    • A higher risk of cerebral palsy

    The slightly increased possibility of birth defects.

    There have been some studies that produced proof of the use of IVF having some increased rates of birth defects. This, however, could be due to particular fertility issues, like abnormalities in the ova and sperm.

    Potential risk of ovarian cancer.

    Some IVF procedures and medications have been linked with the growth of the possibility of an ovarian tumor, yet there are no complete studies that prove this information to be fact.

    Multiple pregnancies.

    Couples and women with children when they endeavor with IVF treatment. These people will most likely welcome the idea of becoming the parent of more than one child at once. Yet, a multiple pregnancy is associated with a handful of risks, such as:

    • Premature delivery
    • Low birth weight
    • High blood pressure during pregnancy
    • Gestational diabetes

    It is important to remember that these risks are in rare cases. Yet, your doctor should not be afraid to present them to you as possibilities to be aware of. Your health should be priority to them, and you should never feel like they are affording you anything but complete transparency.

    #4 -- A Doctor Who Will Be Patient With Your Questions


    When you speak with your fertility specialist, questions that you have should be welcomed and answered in detail. You should never feel as though your questions or concerns are a nuisance. Examples of questions that you would ask and answers you should receive go as follows:


    Q: When you retrieve my eggs, could you damage my ovaries?

    A: It is understandable why you might be concerned with this, but research has indicated that it does not. Women have the ability to go through many cycles of IVF, which they wouldn’t be able to do if their ovaries were impaired through the process.


    Q: Does IVF always produce multiples?

    A: No, it does not. Yet up to 31% of women have twins, up to 5% have triplets and about .5% of women have quadruplets.


    Q: How many cycles will I have to do?

    A: The answer to this depends on a multitude of factors. Your age, physical condition, specific fertility issues, and budget all determine this. There are a great deal of women who go through many cycles, Your fertility specialist should provide you with any possible solutions available to you if you require the need to go through more than one.

    Q: How long should I wait in-between cycles?

    A: There are many women who wish to start their next IVF cycle immediately after an unsuccessful one. Most fertility specialists suggest a little time, like 2 menstrual cycles, before starting again.

    If you have further questions about the responses you receive from your specialist, do not hesitate to ask. They should be ready and willing to give you all the information you require to prepare yourself and develop confidence when it comes to beginning the treatment.

    Always Trust your Instincts

    Do not ignore what your instinct is telling you. This is your life, money, and time that you are giving to this doctor. It is of the utmost importance that you feel nothing but comfortable with them. If for any reason, you are feeling uncomfortable, you should not ignore this.

    On another note, you may like your doctor and feel like you mesh quite well. Still, something just might not be working. Do not ignore these instincts. You have to put yourself first in these types of situations. 

    If you feel that something is not right, a good fertility specialist will not blame you for it.

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    Topics: Fertility Specialist, Infertility Treatment

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