Many people do not expect that they are infertile until they want to get pregnant. Once this discovery is made, a whole new world of learning and decision making is revealed. Most couples are tentative about infertility treatment because of the money factor and they have a hard time believing they cannot accomplish pregnancy themselves.
This is completely understandable, discovering you may be infertile is devastating. Before you start deciding whether or not fertility treatment is for you, there are some important things you should consider. Here are 10 facts that will help you have more awareness as you move further down the path of infertility treatment.
#1 - Both Partners are going to be Affected Emotionally and it is Important to Listen and be there for One Another as much as Possible
If you and your partner haven’t had to deal with too much stress in the past, get ready for a bit of a challenge when it comes to your relationship. Women are always viewed as the more sensitive and volatile in the emotional realm. Yet, even if he doesn’t show it all the way, the man is going to be majorly stressed out during this time as well.
Allow for each other’s feelings, this is your time to prove how much you really can lean on one another. If you are going to be parents, this is something you will need to master.
Some thoughts that may run through your head are:
- will the stress drive a wedge between us?
- is our relationship strong enough to handle the pressure?
- are they going to resent me if we never have success getting pregnant?
- is this going to destroy our desire to be intimate with one another?
All of these questions are completely normal. It is important that you put that out into the open and talk about them being concerns of yours. Keep the communication as open as you can and you leave no room for resentment to build. The more understanding and openness you can maintain the better.
#2 - Treatment is a Major Time Commitment
No matter the type of treatment that you require, it is going to mean setting aside big chunks of time and rescheduling a lot of your plans. An example of the timeline to expect for a person going through general treatment is as follows:
- The initial consultation: You will have to start out by finding a fertility specialist that you feel comfortable with and then meeting with them so you can get to know one another. They will collect information from you and your partner, such as medical history, and address any questions and concerns you have.
- Treatment consultation: After receiving the results of any necessary tests, your doctor will explain their recommended method of treatment to you. This is when you will learn your timeline based on what type of medications or procedures you will undergo.
- Financial consultation: Many clinics will also set up an appointment with you to discuss your financial situation, how much your treatment will cost, and how you are going to address paying for it.
- Undergoing treatment: How long this part takes will depend on the type of treatment that you require. IVF treatments usually take about 7 weeks. After the treatment is finished you will still have to wait a couple weeks before you will be able to take a pregnancy test to see if it was successful.
- It is not uncommon for the first treatment to fail: Of course the goal is for the first treatment to be the one and only, when and if it does fail the disappointment is immense. You have to face going in that successful pregnancy is not guaranteed, and if the treatment does not work, hope is not lost. Many people give treatment a second chance, and your doctor is bound to know even more helpful things about your body the second time around. Therefore, when you are considering how long this could take, you should take into consideration if the first treatment does not work and how many attempts you are willing to try.
#3 - There are many Different Forms of Infertility
When specialists evaluate you and your partner for potential causes of infertility, they will do:
- a full physical examination on both male and female
- a transvaginal ultrasound
- various laboratory tests
- a hysterosalpingogram to evaluate fallopian tubal patency
- and semen analysis
There are some who believe that infertility is the woman’s fault, but there is a 50/50 chance that it is due to an issue in either one of the partner’s health. There are also many cases where infertility exists in both partners. The common causes of infertility for women are:
- Age: This is a more common amongst women because as they age their egg quality and amount begins to decrease. Because of this, a woman is rarely able to achieve pregnancy after she has reached the age of 45.
- Ovulation disorders: A woman needs to have normal or regular ovulation in order to conceive naturally. There are many disorders that can have an effect on ovulation function. The most common of these include polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and ovarian insufficiency.
- Tube blockage: A woman’s tubes can be blocked if they have any history of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Uterine fibroids: Approximately 40% of women could have fibroids, their presence does not always mean infertility. However, if the fibroids are submucosal they can have a major affect. These can be removed, which has been known to double the pregnancy rate.
- Endometrial polyps: These are growths in the uterine cavity that can decrease fertility up to 50%. Removal of polyps can double the pregnancy rate.
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those lining the uterine cavity are found outside of it. This causes inflammation and scarring that can have detrimental effects on the egg, sperm and/or embryo.
Male infertility is most commonly due to abnormality in the semen. Semen function can be improved by certain lifestyle changes or hormonal treatments. In most cases however, the issue could be the result of something that is irreversible and this is when IVF or IUI would be necessary.
#4 - There are many Different Forms of Infertility Treatment
Currently, the most effective treatment for infertility is in vitro fertilization, but this does not mean it is the only one available. It is more expensive than the others, and depending on the cause of infertility, it may not even be necessary. The most common forms of treatment are:
- Medications that induce egg development and ovulation
- In Vitro Fertilization
- Third party reproduction
- and surgery
After going through examinations, your doctor may find that you require surgery to correct an abnormality. You never know what could be going on with your health, and this is why it is important to consult a physician as soon as possible before making any assumptions about what is affecting your fertility and what you should do about it.
#5 - Doctors cannot always find the Cause of Infertility
You may go through a multitude of tests just for the results to come back inconclusive. This is actually quite common and can feel discouraging. You do not have to view this as a bad sign, and talking with a specialist will help you to understand that there are a number of cases where a couple just cannot find success with one another and need a little assistance.
A good infertility doctor will give you the guidance to help you choose the path that makes the most sense for you, even if you cannot find the true cause of infertility.
#6 - You won’t be able to Reach your Doctor 24/7
Committing to infertility treatment means diving into unknown territory, which can feel pretty intimidating and scary. You will be tempted to call your specialist every time you:
- have a question about your treatment
- notice a change in your body
- want to inquire about results you have received
You have to remember that there are many other women being also receiving treatment from this facility and you are not always the first priority. This is hard to handle at times, especially with the high stress and emotions that come with treatment, but the best you can do is practice a little patience. They want to help you and they will respond to your call as soon as they can.
#7 - Picking a Good Doctor takes Time and Research
There are a lot of clinics and infertility specialists to choose from, you need to know that you are going with the right one for you. Consider how delicate this situation is and exactly what you want from your doctor. When deciding which specialist to go with, make sure to:
- research their success rates and what these rates are based on
- ensure that they have the proper credentials
- look into reviews done by past patients
- meet and observe how comfortable you feel speaking with them
- ensure that you feel you can say or asking anything
- explore all of your options and trust your gut, you need to make the best decision for you
#8 - Look into a Money-Back Guarantee
A number of clinics offer a money-back guarantee. The financial assistance offered by each clinic varies and you should be very aware of these options before you make your final choice. With a money-back guarantee, you could be less financially stressed if the treatment is unsuccessful. Coverage by insurance also varies depending on the state you live in, so be sure to get a full scope of what your financial situation is before making any commitments.
#9 - Infertility is more Common than you may Realize
- 12.1% of women have impaired fecundity
- 6.7% of married women are infertile
- 7.3 million (12% of women) have used infertility services
More and more, women are looking into infertility treatment, and a lot of this could pertain to how many couples are choosing to have children later in life. If you are currently in your younger years, make sure you know what your options are now and what they will be the longer you wait.
For women over 40 who are still wishing to conceive, there are options for you, and you should talk to someone as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more your chances decrease.
#10 - You are not Alone
As we have just addressed, there are many going through something similar to you. It can help to talk to people who can understand how you’re feeling, especially because your friends and family will not always know what you need to hear. There are support groups and therapy options for people struggling with infertility.
Members of support groups will often share the experiences they have and trade advice with one another. Not everyone feels comfortable putting themselves in this sort of setting, but if you are having a hard time emotionally, it is worth a try. Support groups can help you to:
- feel less lonely or judged
- gain a sense of empowerment
- improve your coping mechanisms
- talk openly about the way you are feeling
- reduce your stress and anxiety
- develop a better understand of your situation
- get practical advice about your treatment
Where do You Go from Here
There is a lot that people do not know about infertility. The moment that you and your partner start to have concerns about infertility, make sure you educate yourself and seek out advice from those you know you can trust. There is a lot to consider when it comes to your life, relationship, and whether or not fertility treatment is right for you.
There is only so much time that you have to know what kind of assistance you may require. If you have been trying to conceive for longer than a year, it is time to look into receiving some help. Contact the Center of Reproductive Medicine today for more information.