Another month, another negative pregnancy test. It’s tempting to throw up your hands in anger and frustration -- or worse, to look for someone to blame. No wonder so many couples struggling with infertility also experience marriage difficulties and chronic stress. Infertility is one of life’s most painful challenges because the drive to have a child is a core aspect of what makes us human. You don’t have to spend endless months crying over pregnancy tests in the bathroom, though. The right fertility specialist can help you get pregnant quickly, safely, and as affordably as possible.
Many couples first seek help from a general practitioner, urologist, or gynecologist. There’s no harm in seeing your regular doctor for a basic check-up and a referral. But if you’ve tried for longer than a year with no success, you need to see a fertility specialist. Fertility doctors are experts in their field. Just as you wouldn’t ask your dentist to treat cancer or your psychiatrist to treat a broken bone, it just doesn’t make sense to ask a non-specialist to treat infertility. So get the best care and the highest shot at success by seeing an expert first. Here are 5 reasons to see an infertility specialist.
1. You’ll Get the Correct Diagnosis
People who have never sought out infertility treatment may mistakenly believe that there’s a single treatment for all infertility, or that hormones and in vitro fertilization (IVF) work for everyone. That’s not true. Dozens of medical conditions can cause infertility. The most important ingredient in the recipe for treating this disorder is getting the right diagnosis. Without that, you’ll spend time and money on treatments that might be doomed to fail.
Most fertility issues fall into one of a few categories:
- Problems with the egg, such as failure to ovulate.
- Problems with the sperm, such as low sperm count or poor motility.
- Problems with implantation, often due to structural issues.
- Unexplained infertility. This is when the sperm and egg seem normal, and there are no implantation issues. When this occurs, other problems, such as infections, hostile vaginal pH, and other issues may be the concern.
Once a doctor has an idea of the problem or problems, they can then determine which tests are appropriate. Because so many conditions can cause infertility, it’s important to choose the right combination of tests. Testing for everything is expensive and invasive. But testing for too little may mean missing an important diagnosis. The right doctor knows how to balance these competing concerns and determine which testing options are best for you.
Once testing is done, you’re more likely to get an accurate diagnosis, which ultimately saves time and guides treatment. For example, if the problem is with the man’s sperm, no amount of hormones given to the woman will help. Likewise, if there’s a problem with implantation, donor sperm will not cure the issue. Non-specialists often treat the wrong issue. Specialists know which treatments to select.
Moreover, fertility specialist remain up to date on recent developments in the field. They know about fertility issues of which your gynecologist might not. They know about treatments that are new and revolutionary. And they know how to correctly read test results. This means you’re less likely to be diagnosed with the dreaded unexplained infertility.
2. You Don’t Waste Time or Money on Things That Won’t Work
Let’s face it: for most people pursuing infertility treatment, there are two major concerns -- time and money.
Time is not on your side when it comes to fertility. Women’s fertility begins decreasing in their thirties and precipitously declines in their forties. Men see a more gradual drop in their forties. This means that time spent wasted on treatments that don’t work is also time wasted on your most fertile years. Deciding on the right treatment as quickly as possible is the most important thing you can do to ensure fertility treatments work.
Money can also be a major concern since most insurers do not cover infertility medications. Even for well-off couples, a few IVF cycles can be quite pricey. So the right fertility treatment strategy balances the best treatments available with your financial reality. Treatments that don’t work waste time. What’s more, when the first treatment doesn’t work, you might opt to choose a more expensive treatment, like IVF -- even if a more affordable treatment might eventually have worked.
Fertility specialists are experts. They read the research. They know what’s on the horizon in terms of treatment. They understand fertility issues that other doctors might not even know about. So they’re more likely to choose the right treatment the first time. That means less wasted time and less wasted money.
Moreover, as experts in the field, fertility specialists usually know about more than one potential treatment for each issue. So if the first treatment your doctor recommends is too expensive or otherwise something you’re unwilling to try, you’ll probably still have options -- options you might not have if you sought out treatment through your general practitioner.
3. You’ll Have Access to More Infertility Treatment Options
Many people pursuing infertility treatment think there are only a few options: donor sperm or eggs, hormones, and IVF. Did you know there are many different types of IVF? That hundreds of different hormone combinations can help you get pregnant? Or that certain surgeries can increase your fertility?
Fertility medicine is complex, with numerous treatments that can be tweaked and customized to meet your needs and help you achieve your fertility goals. There is no one size fits all treatment. But when you seek help from a generalist, that’s exactly what you may get.
The right fertility specialist takes a long hard look at everything, including:
- Your fertility history, including previous pregnancies, menstrual history, and how long you’ve been trying.
- Your overall health and lifestyle.
- Your mental health, including how infertility and fertility treatments are affecting your well-being.
- Financial issues, and the extent to which infertility is affecting your finances.
From there, a fertility specialist can concoct a custom treatment plan that works with your goals and lifestyle. No wasted time, no treatments doomed to fail, and nothing that’s inconsistent with your values -- just fertility treatment that really works.
4. You May Save Money
Parenthood is expensive. No one wants to blow through their savings trying to become a parent. The right fertility specialist can save you money. Yes, you heard that right. Many people avoid seeing a specialist because they’re worried about cost. Despite this, the thing that can really drive up costs is seeing the wrong type of doctor and getting the wrong type of treatment.
Comprehensive diagnostic procedures produce the right diagnosis. This is something only an expert can offer. The right diagnosis makes it easier to select the right treatment. This can mean a faster pregnancy, and more money to spend on your baby.
Because fertility experts know more about infertility and are better at performing fertility procedures, they have a higher rate of success per procedure. That means fewer tries, less money, and less stress. In many cases, the right fertility specialist may also be able to help you select a less invasive treatment than a general practitioner would offer. These treatments tend to be more affordable.
Comprehensive diagnostics and quality treatment, however, aren’t the only reason to choose a fertility specialist. You’ve probably heard that insurance won’t cover fertility treatment. That is often, but not always, true. When you choose a fertility specialist, insurance is more likely to cover treatment for a couple of reasons:
If your insurance offers some limited coverage for infertility treatment, your specialist is likely better equipped to follow the mandates laid out in your insurance policy.
If your insurance does not cover fertility treatment, it may cover medically necessary procedures. Many fertility treatments are actually treatments for underlying issues, such as PCOS. A fertility specialist knows how to accurately diagnose these issues and properly bill insurance for them.
An experienced specialist has likely worked with your insurer before. So they know what gets covered and what doesn’t. Based on this, they can give you a realistic assessment of your treatment options, as well as advice about how to stay under budget.
5. You’ll Get Support and Access to Additional Resources
Infertility can be profoundly isolating, especially when people keep asking you when you’re going to have a baby or when everyone around you seems to be getting pregnant.
When you seek help from a fertility specialist, you work with someone who has seen it all. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone, not broken, and definitely not weird for struggling with infertility.
There’s something else a fertility specialist can offer: acknowledgment of the painful realities of infertility. Many couples are reluctant to talk about how infertility affects their marriage. How it turns sex into a chore, every vacation into endless thoughts about the child that could be, and every negative pregnancy test into a source of stress and pain. Many infertile couples struggle with marriage issues, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and more.
These are normal reactions to a normal problem. You’re not broken. You’re not bad at marriage or sex. You’re grieving a very real loss. We can help restore some hope. We can also connect you to resources that you might not know about.
When you work with a fertility specialist, you may get help with:
- Understanding the financial side of infertility, including insurance limitations and financing options.
- Connecting to mental health resources, including therapists and other mental health experts who specialize in infertility.
- Managing chronic medical conditions along with infertility. We will help you choose medications that treat your condition without undermining your fertility.
- Accessing infertility support groups and other community resources.
- Restoring and repairing your marriage. When you’re no longer going it alone, endlessly trying to get pregnant, it becomes easier to have fun as a couple again.
Choosing Your Infertility Specialist
At the Center of Reproductive Medicine, in Houston, Texas we know how painful infertility can be. We’ve met and supported hundreds of couples who are exactly where you are right now. We believe that every client deserves compassion and a customized treatment approach. That’s exactly what we offer.
If you’re tired of negative pregnancy tests, overwhelmed by the stress of it all, or worried there might be something seriously wrong, give us a call today. Don’t waste another second.
We recommend seeing an infertility specialist if:
- The woman is over 35 and you have been trying longer than 6 months to get pregnant.
- The woman is under 35 and you have been trying longer than a year to get pregnant.
- Either partner is over 40.
- Either partner has a history of fertility-related health concerns.
- Either partner has a serious medical condition.
- The woman does not menstruate.
- The woman has PCOS, very irregular periods, or thinks she might not be ovulating.
We’ll walk alongside you as you navigate this journey. We’ll listen, adapt our recommendations to your values, and reassure you that you are very much not alone. Let’s work together to help you become a parent. Give us a call today.