Are you a resident of the Houston or Greater Houston area that is looking for a fertility specialist? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The Center of Reproductive Medicine has some of the top fertility specialists in Houston, and today we’d like to share with you a few of the reasons why our clients love working with us. In this post we'll explore:
- When you should start looking for a fertility specialist
- Some of the myths about working with fertility doctors
- What you can expect when working with us,
- Many of the questions you may want to ask at your first appointment, and much more, so let's dive right in!
When should you begin looking for a fertility specialist?
“Infertility” can seem like a vague term due to the fact that the causes alone are sometimes vague. Still, it has a specific definition. A couple or individual is medically defined as experiencing infertility when they have been trying to conceive, but have been unsuccessful for twelve months if they’re under 35, or for six months if they’re over 35.
While other factors aside from age can be in play, this is the generally accepted timeline in which an attempt to conceive should be successful for an otherwise healthy couple that is having regular intercourse while the female is ovulating. This is especially true if you have previously conceived and given birth to a child without assistance.
What causes infertility?
The Center of Reproductive Medicine, fertility specialists of Houston, understands that there is no simple answer to this question. However, there are generally accepted causes that could explain why you are having difficulty conceiving.
It's important to note that this is not a male or female issue, as one or both sexes could be the cause of your case of infertility. With that in mind let's take a look at some of the most common reasons a couple could be infertile.
- A low quantity of eggs, or low quality of the eggs that are present
- A lack of ovulation or delayed ovulation
- Low quality sperm, or low sperm motility - the sperm must be able to swim to the egg, and if it does not have the ability to do so this is considered low sperm motility
- An inability to ejaculate - if there are blockages impeding this ability then sperm cannot get to the egg
- Blockage in the fallopian tubes preventing the sperm from entering
- Autoimmune diseases
- STIs and STDs including HIV/AIDS
- Hormonal imbalances and genetic conditions
- Pelvic inflammatory disease and PCOS
- Having three or more abortions and
- Having three or more miscarriages
While this is far from an exhaustive list, if any of the above apply to you, we highly recommend you make an appointment to visit with a fertility doctor sooner rather than later.
The myths about working with fertility doctors, and whether or not there are things you can do that may help you get pregnant
We pride ourselves in education. We believe that it is crucial to share as much knowledge as possible, in order to dispel myths, rumors and conjecture that frequently float around online, in magazines, and even in books.
For example, some people believe that there are things you can do to get pregnant without assistance from a fertility doctor. While there have been some cases where a couple using old wives tales does in fact achieve pregnancy, the actions one takes does not guarantee another couple doing the same things will have similar results.
As the go to fertility specialist of Houston, we’ve heard them all, and just a few of these inaccuracies include but are not limited to:
- Increasing sexual activity to ensure conception
While we wish we could say that having intercourse several times a week would guarantee conception, this simply isn't true. In a normal, otherwise healthy couple, yes, increasing your acts of intimacy can improve your chances of conceiving, the sad truth is that for some couples no amount of intercourse will result in a baby if there is an unknown cause of infertility.
- The position you get in will change everything
Biology tells us that sperm must enter the vagina, swim up through the cervix and uterus and into the fallopian tubes on its hunt for an egg. The sperm then has up to six days to find an egg before it dies. When a sperm cell joins with an egg, it's called fertilization.
Unfortunately, no position you get in during intercourse or afterwards will change these biological facts. Lying flat on your back, or holding your legs in the air, or any other story you may have heard will not force the sperm any way you want it to go.
- Get acupuncture to stimulate your reproductive organs
Though it is true, acupuncture helps in stimulating blood flow to all body parts, including the reproductive organs, this may not help you to conceive. There is no proof that acupuncture can ensure someone will get pregnant.
- Change your lubricant and you will get pregnant
This one could actually be considered partially true. There are some lubricants on the market that have spermicide in them, that can prevent a couple from achieving pregnancy. However, we must point out that it may not be the lubricant you’re using that is leading to your infertility.
- Your diet affects your fertility
You don’t need to go on a special “fertility diet” with specific supplements to guarantee conception. The number one reason for this is there are no guarantees when it comes to something as complex as conceiving a child. Yes, you’re better off being as healthy as possible to have a healthy pregnancy, but barring birth control, there aren’t many things that you can consume that will prevent you from getting pregnant.
However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t inform you that substances such as alcohol, and marijuana and illicit drugs, can negatively impact sperm motility and quantity.
- Just relax, be patient, and get more sleep
Again, being as healthy as possible will create a better environment for you, but it will not ensure conception.
- Adopt and you’ll conceive
As far as we are concerned, this might just be the most inappropriate myth on this list. It's hard enough on a couple that is struggling to achieve pregnancy, but guilting anyone into adopting a child as a means of “helping them” to conceive is inexcusable.
Though there are some parents who have adopted children, and gotten pregnant shortly after doing so, there is no scientific evidence related to these scenarios. These cases are certainly the exception, and not the rule. To believe that you can get pregnant by adopting is not only irresponsible, it will in no way, shape, or form guarantee that you will get pregnant!
Do you want to know what is causing your specific case of infertility? Your best bet is to stop theorizing, and instead speak to a Houston fertility specialist.
What should you be looking for in a fertility doctor?
When seeking a fertility doctor, you should be looking for one that:
- Is an expert in their field
- Communicates effectively
- Takes care to put your needs first
- Offers flexible scheduling and
- Is compassionate in matters of money
You’ll get all this and more when you work with the best fertility specialists in Houston.
Our doctors on staff are experts in the field of fertility, and they understand how difficult dealing with a subject as delicate as this can be. When you call our office, you'll be met with a friendly greeting, and staff that will answer any questions that you may have to the best of their ability. Everyone that works here at the Center of Reproductive Medicine understands that this journey can be a painful one, and we will treat you with the compassionate care that you deserve, every step of the way.
We know, that you are not just a number, and we will never treat you like one. Working in this business is not about boosting our bottom line, it is about taking great care to help our patients in every way that we can. It is because of this, that we offer flexible scheduling including evening and weekend hours, so that you won't ever have to worry about asking for permission to take time off to come and see us. In other words, we try to make this stressful journey as pain-free as we can.
Finally, you'll find no other clinic is quite as caring about the financial aspects of infertility as we are. We know how painful it can be to decide between fertility testing and treatments, and paying your bills.That is why we offer financial counseling to everyone that comes through our doors. While we will discuss your finances frankly and openly, we will be understanding, and will never pressure you into any decision that could undermine your future financial goals.
Questions you may want to ask your Houston fertility specialist, and what to expect at your first appointment
Prior to making an appointment with us, you'll be advised to take The Anti-Mullerian Hormone test (AMH Test), which is a blood test that will aid your fertility doctor in assessing your ovarian reserve. The test will measure your AMH levels in your blood, and can help your doctor determine if you have premature ovarian aging (diminished ovarian reserve) or premature ovarian failure.
Before your first appointment, we will also ask that you obtain all medical records from your primary care physician, your OB/GYN, and (if applicable) any previous fertility specialist you’ve worked with in the past. To maximize your time during your first appointment, we'll request that you submit these medical records at least two days beforehand. This way, we can review the records prior to sitting down with you, which will help us to better serve you come appointment time.
What records will you need specifically? They are as follows:
- Your results of your latest pap smear that you’ve taken within the last year
- Mammogram results
- If you have any records related to gynecology operative reports or procedures
- Notes and documentation from past office visits at a primary care doctor, OB/GYN, or another fertility doctor
- Any notes/documents related to previous fertility therapy and/or previous tests performed
- Results of any and all lab testings that have been performed in the last 18 months
On the day of the appointment, you'll consult with one of our doctors, and discuss a detailed history to help determine the most appropriate path for your unique journey. We understand that in the world of infertility, there are no cookie-cutter cases, and that is why we go to great lengths to learn as much as we can about every individual situation. We strive to do all that we can to maintain our high success rates, working side-by-side with you as your advocate, navigating these oftentimes confusing waters.
Here are some of the questions you may want to ask your fertility specialist, and we’ve taken the liberty of preemptively answering them for you:
- What are your success rates? For females under 35 years old our cumulative live birth rate per patient from 2012 to 2015 is 76%. For those 35 to 37 years of age it’s 55%, and for patients 38 to 40 years it is 51%. To see charts of our success rates, click here.
- Is the office open on weekends and in the evenings? Yes, we are proud to say that the Center of Reproductive Medicine is open on weekends, and in the evenings for flexible scheduling.
- Does your clinic take insurance? It's unfortunate, but most insurance plans will not cover fertility treatments. On the other hand, there are some insurance policies that do cover your initial visit. You can ask your insurance company whether or not there is coverage available to you.
- Should I wait on fertility treatments? The most simple answer to this question is no. As a female ages, her odds of conceiving decreases. However, you'll need to discuss specifics with your fertility doctor. Also check out our post about women over the age of 40.
What questions should you be prepared to answer at your initial appointment?
Just a few of the things your doctor will ask you at your initial appointment are:
- Questions about your sexual history, and the history of your partner
- Whether or not your family has a history with successful pregnancies, miscarriages, or stillbirths
- If you have any diseases or infections that you have not previously mentioned at other doctors appointments
- Your current lifestyle habits
- The status of your menstrual cycle and whether or not it is regular, irregular, or nonexistent
- Medications that you're currently on, and the medications your partner may be taking
The reason that all these questions and more will be asked, is that they could play a role in your fertility. The more open and honest you can be with your doctor, the easier it will be to determine what is causing your struggle in your ability to achieve pregnancy.
Ready to begin your journey with the top fertility specialists in Houston?
We know we’ve covered a lot of information here today, and that it can all be quite overwhelming. If you would like to learn more about making an appointment with us, we would be honored to join you on your journey of starting or expanding your family.