Infertility: Taking the First Steps
by Faye Knisley
One of the most unexpected, and increasing, problems many couples are facing today is infertility. According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 15 percent of couples in the United State are infertile. The label of infertility is used for couples who have not been able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected intercourse for at least a year.
If you are not having success getting pregnant, make an appointment with a doctor. If you are a woman aged 35 or older, it is recommended seeing a doctor after six months of unprotected intercourse. In the beginning, some couples visit their general/family practitioner or gynecologist. However, if you and your partner have already visited your doctors and still have not had answers or success, you might want to make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in infertility, also known as a reproductive endocrinologist. Because the reasons behind infertility can be complex, the reproductive endocrinologist can offer more treatment options, should your case prove to be more complicated than anticipated.
As with choosing any doctor, choosing the right reproductive endocrinologist is important. In some geographical areas of the world, there may not be many options, but in other areas, there may be plenty to choose from. Some things to do before choosing your fertility doctor and clinic are:
- Ask your general practitioner or gynecologist for their professional opinion regarding fertility clinics in the area. Ask them which clinic they would feel most comfortable with if they were struggling with infertility.
- Talk to family members or friends who are struggling, or who have struggled with, infertility issues. Not only can it be therapeutic to talk to others who understand what you and your partner are going through, but they might have recommendations on fertility clinics in the area. They might also be able to help explain certain treatments and procedures from a patient’s viewpoint.
- Visit the web. Finding fertility doctors is literally as easy as by clicking your mouse. With many websites dedicated to providing information about infertility, you can also find websites that will help you find the right doctor. For example, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (www.sart.org) provides a search option to help find the reproductive endocrinologists by state and by their fertility clinic’s statistical success. This might be helpful if you and your partner need to undergo more extensive treatments in the future, such as In vitro Fertilization.
- Check with your health insurance provider. While not all insurance companies provide coverage of infertility treatments, there are many insurance companies who do provide some, or all, coverage of even the most extensive procedures and medications. By researching the policies of your insurance coverage early on, you may be able to find a clinic that is covered under your policy, and save more money.
- Lastly, if possible, make several consultation appointments with reproductive endocrinologists in your area. Make sure to ask your questions regarding tests, treatments, their professional polices, and latest clinical technology and successes. Most importantly, do not feel rushed while you are learning about a clinic. However, if you and your partner feel comfortable with a particular fertility doctor and clinic, make an appointment to start treatment(s).
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