One of the most frequently asked questions among couples who are trying to conceive is: How do I know when it’s time to see a fertility doctor? (And what is a fertility doctor anyway?)
To answer the second question first, fertility doctors are reproductive endocrinologists. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) is a surgical subspeciality of obstetrics and gynecology (Ob/Gyn) that addresses hormonal functioning as it pertains to reproduction and infertility in both women and men. Reproductive endocrinologists have Ob/Gyn specialty training before they undergo subspeciality training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. In the United States, a reproductive endocrinologist has four years of Ob/Gyn training and a three-year fellowship.
So, when should you see a reproductive endocrinologist? Here are 12 indications:
- Women: You are younger than 35 and have tried to conceive for one full year without success.
- Women: You are older than 35 and have tried to conceive for six months without success.
- Women: You have irregular or absent menstrual periods.
- Women: You have experienced an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia. More research is finding that eating disorders can affect your fertility.
- Women: You have had two or more miscarriages, particularly if you are over 35.
- Women: You have a personal history of tubal disease or pelvic infection. Previous ectopic tubal pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or Chlamydia infections will often compromise tubal function.
- Women: You have been diagnosed with endometriosis or a condition causing adhesions (scar tissue). Previous abdominal surgeries for conditions such as ruptured appendix or ruptured ovarian cysts can cause adhesions.
- Men: You have a prior or current infection of the prostate.
- Men and Women: You have a prior or current sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Men and Women: You have had a reversal of a surgical sterilization of either partner.
- Men and Women: You have a prior history of infertility.
- Men and Women: You are a same-sex couple seeking to build your family via donor egg, donor sperm or gestational surrogacy.
Seeing a reproductive endocrinologist does not mean you must undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) — it simply means you are taking steps to understand your fertility potential and the best way for you to conceive. That is why Fertility Centers of Illinois is offering for a limited time The Fertility Awareness Checkup, an inexpensive opportunity for individuals or couples to gain an understanding of their fertility potential with basic fertility testing.
For more information, call us at (888)325-7389.