Struggling to start a family can be incredibly difficult on anyone. The placing of blame and all the unknowns -- infertility can cause more heartbreak, stress, and turmoil in a relationship than most other things can. At some point you may find yourselves needing the guidance and care of infertility specialists.
However, just as there are unknowns as to the cause of infertility, there are several unknowns about who you should work with. Below are 5 misconceptions about infertility specialists that are holding you back and could be preventing you from achieving pregnancy.
The 5 common misconceptions are:
- They will only want to give you the most expensive treatments, and it will come with a high pressure sales pitch with little regard for your financial welfare.
- They’re going to push for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and you’ll end up like ‘Octomom’.
- If a clinic has a higher success rate than others, you should work with them because then you’ll be guaranteed to get pregnant.
- Infertility specialists are only for old people, young people, rich people, or -- insert your own excuse here.
- All fertility specialists are the same, so who I choose doesn’t really matter.
Now that we’ve seen what the most frequent faulty thoughts are with choosing an infertility specialist, let’s break them down further to help you make the best decision for starting or expanding your family.
Misconception #1 - Infertility specialists only want to give you the most expensive treatments.
While it is true that there are some fertility doctors out there that only focus on making money, there are also ones that genuinely care about you and your dream of having a baby. For example, when you work with the Center of Reproductive Medicine, our staff will never pressure you into something you’re uncomfortable with.
We understand that it can be a frustrating decision when finances interfere with your goal of starting or expanding your family. That is why everyone here is trained to be compassionate, yet frank regarding what your options are. Unfortunately, most insurance policies won’t cover your fertility treatments unless they’re deemed medically necessary. However, our goal is to work with you, and help you decide what your best options are without any pressure.
Misconception #2 - You’ll end up with IVF and be the next ‘Octomom’.
Depending on your case, one of the services infertility specialists sometimes recommend is In vitro fertilization (IVF). A common worry is that it’s the only treatment that will be suggested, and that if you do go through with it, you’ll have multiples and be the next reality television subject.
The first and perhaps most important thing you need to know, is that not everyone who seeks the help of a fertility specialist has to do IVF treatments. In fact, your unique situation may not warrant it at all. Until you actually have a consultation and tests are performed to determine the cause of your individual infertility, you won’t know what treatment is best for you. In some cases hormonal treatments or other simple procedures are all that is standing in your way of becoming a parent.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that yes, some cases do warrant IVF treatments. It’s also worth noting though, this doesn’t mean you’ll end up with multiples just because you are given IVF as your option for treatment.
A few facts about IVF treatments:
- The Center of Reproductive Medicine has a full IVF laboratory on-site, including an in-house SurgiCenter for performing laparoscopic, hysteroscopic, hysterosalpingograms and tubal reversal surgeries. We also offer opportune and affordable fertility treatments to help couples try for an IVF pregnancy.
- With IVF, doctors do implant multiple embryos because this increases the odds of a successful pregnancy. But, only about 10% of successful IVF cycles result in having multiples. The odds of having more than twins is even smaller, so becoming the next Octomom is highly unlikely.
- The Center of Reproductive Medicine offers minimal stimulation treatment or min-IVF as an additional option for those considering IVF treatments. With min-IVF our doctors will use a minimal amount of medication to stimulate your ovaries and produce a manageable number of quality eggs during a given cycle. We have seen this decrease the trauma and stress of heavy hormone therapies while still offering excellent success rates.
- For a patient to qualify for the min-IVF they must be of a reproductive age, but younger than 32. They must also be a non-smoker, with egg reserves in a normal range. They must also have a normal weight BMI. To learn more about what qualifies a patient for min-IVF you should talk to your fertility specialist.
- It’s also important to note that even with the most skilled fertility doctor, only about 25% of IVF procedures will produce a single pregnancy on average. Your success depends on a number of additional factors including, but not limited to your reproductive history, your current age, lifestyle choices, and other potential causes impeding your fertility. That’s also why it’s so important you work with a reputable clinic to increase your chances of achieving pregnancy.
- According to The American Pregnancy Association, in the United States, the live birth rate for each IVF cycle started is approximately:
- 41-43% for women under age 35
- 33-36% for women ages 35 to 37
- 23-27% for women ages 38 to 40
- 13-18% for women ages over 40
Misconception #3 - Your doctor’s success rate can guarantee you a pregnancy.
First off, if anyone guarantees that they can help you achieve pregnancy, run for the hills! It would be unethical for any infertility specialist to guarantee you that they can make your dreams of having your own baby come true. This is simply because no one can predict your biology, or change science.
While we can tell you our own success rates here at the Center of Reproductive Medicine, even we know that no matter what treatment options we offer you, none of them are 100% certain to be successful. The truth is two people that seem identical in every possible way, can have completely different experiences with fertility treatments. It’s a frustrating reality, but the human body sometimes does unpredictable things.
What you should know about fertility clinic success rates:
- The success rates of one clinic could be vastly different from another due to the variety of treatments offered, the age of the patients, their diagnosis, and many other factors.
- For example, some clinics are specifically geared towards helping patients with more complicated fertility cases. As a result, they may have lower success rates, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good clinic for your unique case.
- Some clinics may focus more on one or many different types of treatment, and each treatment can vary widely in their chances of achieving pregnancy.
- There are also some clinics that offer experimental treatments or practice alternative/holistic medicine.
The bottom line is that success rates should not be your sole reason for working with a fertility clinic. There’s a lot more to what makes a good doctor, than statistics.
Misconception #4 - Infertility specialists aren’t for me.
Too many people avoid seeking help because they don’t think a clinic would be right for them. They believe fertility clinics are only for people that are older, younger, rich, thin, didn’t do drugs, don’t smoke, don’t drink, or...you get the idea. The problem with your excuse is that you won’t actually know if your case can be helped until your situation is analyzed by a decent specialist.
Who then should seek the help of an infertility specialist?
- If you’re older than 30, and have been trying for six months are longer, seek help. The sad reality is that fertility is time sensitive. “Your biological clock is ticking” isn’t just a popular idiom, it’s a fact that as you age your odds of having a successful pregnancy go down.
- Once you have reached the age of 30 your fertility begins to decline, slowly at first, and then it takes a drastic dive once you get to 40.
- Studies have show that women aged 40 have just a 5% chance of getting pregnant, and of those that achieve pregnancy as many as 34% will have a miscarriage.
- If you’re younger than 35, but have been trying for a year or more, it might be time to visit a fertility clinic. It’s better to act now before your fertility rates start declining. It may take time to determine the cause and treatment for your infertility. In other words, by acting as soon as you suspect an issue, you’ll have better chances of achieving pregnancy.
- Don’t assume that just because you’re not rich you shouldn’t see a fertility doctor. Yes, some treatments can be expensive. However, until you actually have a consultation and get to the cause of your inability to get pregnant, you’re just wasting time on conjecture. It’s better to get all of the facts face the financial decisions that may come into play, rather than wait too long and potentially have to deal with low odds.
- While it is true that your weight can have an impact on your fertility, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consult a doctor. Your doctor may advise you that you are in fact too heavy to have a healthy pregnancy, but then again, it could be less of a problem than you think it is.
- A genetic disorder or hormonal issues shouldn’t keep you from visiting a fertility doctor either. We live in a wonderful age where many disorders and hormonal issues can be managed or treated to help you get pregnant. They can’t all be solved, but you have better odds today than you did even a decade ago!
- Other lifestyle choices such as alcohol and substance abuse can impact your fertility, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Honest and frank conversations with an infertility specialist can help you determine treatments and/or your odds of success.
- Some people decide against visiting a fertility specialist because they think if they had a miscarriage their infertility is permanent. While in some respects it is true that a patient who has had a miscarriage could have another, it’s not a guarantee, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re infertile. There might be other factors in play that caused the first miscarriage, and you won’t know what they are if you simply give up instead of visiting with a doctor.
The main point we want to make here is that assumptions won’t solve anything. They certainly won’t get you any closer to having a baby. Getting honest answers from a specialist is the only way to actually start making plans for productive action. Wouldn’t you rather know with certainty where you stand, and what your unique odds are for achieving pregnancy? Sometimes just knowing the truth can help you come to a level headed decision on what to do next.
Misconception #5 - All fertility doctors are the same.
Think about how you met your spouse or partner. You probably didn’t go into the dating pool assuming everyone was just alike. You were looking for someone who you would mesh well with, and that was seeking the same goals you are. It’s somewhat similar to how you should go about choosing a fertility doctor. They aren’t all the same, and you won’t get the same feelings with all of them.
A good fertility clinic will:
- Work with you to determine the best options for you, instead of using high pressure sales tactics for the most expensive treatments from the get-go
- Thoroughly examine you to get to the root cause/causes of your infertility
- Tell you all of your treatment options, and the chances of success for each of them
- Genuinely care about your goal of achieving pregnancy, and be compassionate about your situation every step of the way regardless of the outcome
- Communicate the facts to you in an an open and frank manner so that you understand exactly what’s going on with your case
- Won’t push you into any treatment that you’re uncomfortable with
- Pay attention to your needs
We know it can be scary to work with an infertility specialist, but we’d like to help you on your journey.
The journey of starting or expanding a family can be like a roller coaster, with ups and downs and loops you’re not sure how to deal with. We understand just how bumpy of a ride dealing with infertility can be. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone, and we may be able to help. You deserve an infertility specialist that is compassionate, honest, and puts you first. The Center of Reproductive Medicine offers flexible scheduling, sensitive staff, knowledgeable specialists, and top of the line care.
Where some clinics see themselves as just your fertility doctor, we like to think of ourselves as your fertility partners working with you to design a treatment plan to give you the best chances for success. To learn more about working with the Center of Reproductive Medicine, or to schedule a new patient consultation, click here.