Some individuals or couples may seek a fertility specialist to prepare for pregnancy and mitigate risks, especially if they’re older or have a condition. Others need a fertility specialist to help them treat infertility. Consulting an expert can help you navigate the challenges of conceiving and carrying a baby to term. Here are six reasons to see a fertility expert:
1. You Are Struggling to Get Pregnant
Seeing a fertility doctor is the best help you can access if you’re trying to conceive but have been unsuccessful. Conditions like age, infections, pelvic conditions, weight, ovarian issues, and endometriosis can prevent you from conceiving. If you’re younger than 35, see a fertility doctor after 12 months. Conceiving tends to be more challenging as you get older, so women above 35 should seek an expert after 6 months of failed attempts at getting pregnant.
Women trying to give birth after 40 should see a fertility doctor quickly if unable to conceive. The risks and issues that arise during pregnancy also increase with age. Aging also affects egg quantity and quality. The natural decline leaves older women more vulnerable to miscarriage and other issues. Your fertility doctor can help you prepare for the pregnancy and find the right treatment for potential issues. Popular treatments include ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
2. You Have A Known Reproductive Issue
Reproductive issues like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), fibroids, and endometriosis can cause infertility. If you have a known reproductive problem, you should see a specialist to devise a treatment plan. Some plans involve treating the condition first, while others leverage assisted reproductive technologies. Here are some known reproductive issues that require the attention of a fertility specialist:
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes infertility in women. The condition affects your ability to ovulate regularly, which makes conception challenging. Your fertility doctor will recommend oral or injectable medications to stimulate ovulation.
Endometrial tissues grow in the uterus and shed during menstruation. The endometrial cells can grow elsewhere, like in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic spaces. This condition is called endometriosis. When this happens, the tissues can block the egg and cause other complications. Treatment is personalized and may include surgery to remove the abnormal tissues.
• Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
POI is a rare condition that can disrupt the normal functioning of ovaries. The condition makes it almost impossible to conceive naturally. Women with POI can opt for (IVF), egg donors, and surrogates if other attempts at natural conception fail.
• Uterine Fibroids
Women may develop benign tumors inside the uterine muscles. The tumors (fibroids) can interfere with your ability to get pregnant or increase the risk of pregnancy loss. Some women carry a pregnancy successfully despite having fibroids. Others need personalized treatment before they can conceive.
3. You’ve Had Multiple Miscarriages
A miscarriage occurs when you lose a pregnancy within 20 weeks of conceiving. Most miscarriages happen when the sperm or egg has the wrong number of chromosomes, so the embryo can’t develop normally. Other miscarriages occur due to implantation issues and late development problems. Stress, trauma, medications, substance abuse, structural defects in the uterus, and genetic issues from the male’s DNA can also cause miscarriage.
One miscarriage isn’t a major concern as far as a woman’s ability to carry a baby, but multiple successive cases are problematic. If you have multiple miscarriages, see a fertility expert to determine if you have an underlying condition. The doctor will conduct a series of tests, including blood work, ovulation evaluation, semen analysis (for your partner), and imaging. Many causes of single miscarriage are treatable, so your chances of getting pregnant are good once the underlying issue is resolved.
4. You Have Menstrual Abnormalities
Having no period, irregular periods, or heavy bleeding can be a symptom of a bigger problem. If you don’t have a period, you may not be ovulating. Irregular periods may stem from the brain sending the wrong hormonal signals, causing ovulation disorder. Bleeding between periods or after sex may suggest the presence of uterine fibroids or cervical lesions. Other menstrual abnormalities include heavy periods with blood clots larger than a quarter.
Heavy periods may be the result of fibroids or endocrine abnormalities. Some chronic illnesses like cancer can also impact your normal flow. You should determine whether the issue is from reproductive or other general health problems. The fertility doctor can help diagnose and treat reproductive issues or send you to the right physician for other medical conditions. Diabetes, thyroid conditions, hypertension, and heart disease can all impact your ovulation and fertility.
Working With a Fertility Specialist
Fertility specialists can help you plan for pregnancy and treat underlying issues that can cause problems during pregnancy. You can freeze your eggs for later use, treat endometriosis and PCOS, or access assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. Choose experienced fertility doctors and clinics with a growing good reputation for patient satisfaction and success rates.