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Houston Fertility Journal

When Should You Seek A Second Opinion?

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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Starting a family is one of the most important decisions a couple can make. Of course, bringing a child into this world is fraught with its own unique set of challenges, and the significance of childbirth cannot be understated. However, for some couples, the struggle begins at conception.

Although it isn’t readily discussed due to its highly sensitive nature, infertility -- and in some cases, getting a fertility specialist second opinion, as we’ll discuss -- stands in the way of many aspiring parents, preventing them from pursuing their dream of holding their own little bundle of joy.

Sadly, many of those couples who have already begun seeking fertility treatment have found a successful pregnancy consistently eludes their grasp. But this doesn’t have to be the case. No matter how hopeless a couple feels, there is always another way.

In order to facilitate your pregnancy, you need to be sure that your fertility specialist meets all your needs. This individual will ultimately guide you through one of life’s greatest adventures, and this central responsibility should not be taken lightly.

Still, you may find yourself at some point wondering if your choice of fertility specialist (and their prescribed course of action) simply isn’t working. You and your partner might fear that moving on will cause you to begin your journey toward conception all over again or that your thirst for a second opinion will only endanger the relationship with your current fertility specialist.

Neither is the case, as second opinions are a customary part of such serious treatments as those involved in fertility. Here are a few ways to know when it is time to seek a second opinion.

When You Still Haven’t Gotten Pregnant

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Too many couples decide to have a child, only to face months or even years waiting for conception to finally occur. Presumably, you’ve already faced some period of disappointment prior to seeing your current fertility specialist. If that’s the case and you’re considering seeking out a second opinion, then we’re guessing that another extended period of struggle is behind you.

  • If this is the case, it may indeed be time to look elsewhere for medical advice.
  • After all, you owe it to yourself and your family to do everything you can to conceive and boost your fertility.
  • But that also means limiting the amount of heartache you face along the way.
  • That being said, we also must caution you against making any rash decisions.

How long you’ll choose to work with your current fertility specialist will depend on a number of factors involving your specific situation. Yet, because fertility treatment often takes time, be sure that you aren’t rushing into a second opinion for the wrong reasons.

In all likelihood, your current specialist has had ample time to address your concerns on his or her own, but don’t project your collective dismay with the entire process -- including that period that predates your current specialist -- on to this stage.

That isn’t fair to your specialist, your body or the treatment itself.

Allow at least a few months with your specialist before you leap into the decision to have a second doctor evaluate your case.

When You’re Dissatisfied with Treatment

So your specialist has set a specific treatment plan in place, and after waiting a reasonable amount of time for said treatment to take effect and yield a discernible difference, you’ve had enough.

You’ve followed all his or her instructions to the letter and even attempted to upend some of those pesky fertility myths yourself, to no avail. Yet, you’re seemingly not any closer to getting pregnant, and even worse, you haven’t been getting the attention you need from your specialist, leaving you feeling directionless in the pursuit of your family’s deepest dreams.

This shouldn’t be the norm, and if it is, a change certainly needs to occur. In fact, in these circumstances, you might be overdue for a second opinion.

Your specialist is supposed to be one of your most trusted resources as you combat infertility. He or she is bound to give you the answers you seek about one of the most stressful experiences of your life. If you have any concerns or questions, a devoted specialist would be addressing those head-on, ensuring every step of the way that you are in complete agreement with the treatment plan he or she has laid out for you.

They are the experts, and you defer to their knowledge in helping you make the critical decisions that will ultimately lead you to a life of bliss with your new baby. If you haven’t been getting the support you need during treatment, a second opinion could be (ironically) just what the doctor ordered.

When You Want to Explore Other Options

Whether or not treatment in your current specialist’s hands has been progressing, you may be becoming antsy.

Perhaps you’ve begun vigorously searching the bowels of the internet and have come across some intriguing new types of fertility treatment that your specialist either isn’t well-versed in or simply refuses to administer, which might be the case for a variety of reasons.

Remember, not all doctors use the same methods for addressing a single medical complaint, having received their degrees at different schools and worked in different programs.

A wide variety of options may be in play, and it’s highly unlikely that your specific specialist is prepared to explore them all with you. Enter the second opinion, which suddenly present you with an entire world of new possibilities.

We would never advise anyone to visit a new fertility clinic without first doing ample research, but if you’re interested in what other solutions could possibly give you the results you and your family seek, another specialist -- namely, one who doesn’t prescribe to the exact same philosophy and treatment plan as your current one -- could be the best way to go.

Just be sure that you bring a ton of questions to your initial consultation, as your incoming specialist needs to know if you have very specific treatment options in mind. Even if you don’t have any specific you’re interested in looking into, securing a second opinion might open your eyes to an entirely new way of tackling your infertility that your first specialist might never have considered.

When You Simply Want Peace of Mind

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One of the worst parts of facing infertility is the havoc it can wreak on you and your family. The simple fact that so many couples all over the world take conception for granted might rattle you to no end.

  • Why, you may wonder, must I grapple with the mental and spiritual anguish that accompanies a fruitless mission to have a child of my own?
  • You might worry that your specialist simply isn’t equipped or able to solve your problem, and you’ll do just about anything to set your mind at ease.

If this is the case, you’re not alone. The anxiety that you feel during this time is absolutely warranted. When you’ve lost faith in your doctor, you’re likely to look for any alternative you can find.

A second opinion is just the logical extension of that thought.

Naturally, it helps if the previously mentioned criteria are also met, but given these extreme circumstances, one can hardly blame you if you were to opt to see another specialist simply because you desire the peace of mind it will bring you.

After several months of dissatisfaction and uncertainty, taking the specific details of your case to another doctor entirely can be the perspective refresher you need to refocus your energy on the task at hand. Even if other, more practical options are available, there’s something to be said for knowing where you stand, even if it turns out that you were already on the right track.

When You Just Cannot Afford Treatment

Speaking of practicality, one especially good reason to seek out a second opinion is if your current specialist is no longer within your price range. Fertility treatments are so involved that they can run a bit on the pricey side, and if you find that your funds are running low, determining another specialist who can help -- perhaps a similar one who offers lower rates or is more fully covered by health insurance -- might offset some of the mounting medical expenses.

The experience of undergoing fertility treatment is already stressful enough without having to heap financial strife onto the situation.

Choosing a fertility center is an ordeal unto itself, but armed with the knowledge of your treatment to date and what you want from your fertility specialist, it’s not out of the question that you might be able to find a doctor who can provide the high-quality service you need at a lower expense than your previous specialist.

The more fertility becomes recognized as the serious issue it is, the more insurance companies will rise to provide the coverage that can at last make it an affordable option for couples trying to conceive a child.

When You Have the Tools You Need

Whether you are still mulling over the idea of tracking down a second opinion or are already full steam ahead (especially the latter!), be sure that you have everything you need to take your case to another specialist.

  • Take notes at each visit
  • Acquire a thorough copy of your medical records
  • Don’t forget to include any test results, x-rays, exams and other paperwork

These can help your new specialist hit the ground running. These cumulatively paint the complete picture of your fertility status and are the key to establishing the solution you need to finally conceive.

Other than these critical documents, you should be ready to get a second opinion at any time (also, check that your insurance policy doesn’t require referrals to see any specialists). Of course, it helps to have a course of action in mind, but even if you don’t, you’ll at least have the tools you need to ensure that your fertility treatment continues from where you left off.

The worst thing would be to move your case to a second opinion specialist (should you commit to this new approach) and then be forced to perform many of the same tests and tread the same possibilities that have already been discussed. While there may be a bit of redundancy, you should be able to keep pushing forward when you have your medical records in tow.

Second Time’s a Charm

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Perhaps more than even the above tips, you must follow your own heart when it comes to your fertility specialist second opinion. Only you can assess when the time is right to look elsewhere for medical advice, especially on such an intensely personal subject. If you do decide to secure a second opinion, remain professional in the face of it all.

  • Your doctor should understand and respect your wishes.
  • Work with him or her to find another specialist who can offer their own input.
  • Focus your thoughts on how important bearing a child is to you, and channel that desire into the determination you need to pursue the answers you seek no matter what.
  • We know you’re anxious to learn all you can about your own fertility and maximize your chances of conception.

That’s why we’ve developed our latest eBook, “Getting Pregnant 101: Facts, Myths and Secrets to Fertility.” In its pages, we’ll break down some common misconceptions about fertility that you may still cling to and present you with all the facts you’ll need to know to make that long-awaited pregnancy a beautiful reality.

We’ll even include some healthful ways you can naturally improve your own fertility levels, smoothing out some of the likeliest obstacles you’ll encounter on the road to childbirth. For more information on how you can get your own copy and jumpstart your fertility efforts, visit our website.

Regardless of how long you may have waited to expand your family, we encourage you to be sure to explore all your options. With any luck, conception is right around the corner!

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Topics: Fertility Clinic, Fertility Specialist

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