If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, a fertility doctor can help you diagnose and treat the underlying issue. You can also visit a fertility specialist to help you prepare for pregnancy and carry the baby safely to full term. Here’s an overview of some things your doctor may include in your plan:
If you don’t get pregnant after several months of unprotected intercourse without contraceptives, you might face infertility problems. Women above 35 years should seek professional help after six months of trying. The fertility specialist will schedule an evaluation to determine the cause of your infertility. Most meetings begin by discussing your needs and reviewing your medical history.
Based on the medical review, the doctor will outline some fertility tests for you (and your partners). Common tests include physical examinations, blood work, ovulation detection, and semen analysis. Your doctor may also use an ultrasound or specialized x-ray to check your ovaries, uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes. The doctor will review the test results to diagnose what’s preventing you from getting pregnant. Here are some common infertility causes:
- Failure to ovulate
• Failed/improper egg maturity
• Menstrual cycle problems
• Structural reproductive system problems
• Implantation failure
• PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
• POI (primary ovary insufficiency)
• Uterine fibroids
• Autoimmune disorders
• Male factor infertility, including hormonal imbalances, poor semen quality, diabetes, medication, varicocele, and STIs
After fertility evaluation and diagnosis, your doctor will establish a treatment plan. The treatment plan is customized to resolve underlying issues preventing you from getting pregnant. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and intercourse timing to boost the chances of fertilization. Sometimes the plan includes fertility drugs, hormonal injections, surgery, or ART (assisted reproductive technology). Below are popular treatment options:
1. Ovulation Induction
If you have ovulation dysfunction, your doctor may recommend ovulation induction. The treatment involves medication (injections or pills) to induce follicle growth, development, and ovulation. Shots are the popular choice in ovulatory patients. The treatment results in multiple ovulations, increasing the chances of one egg being fertilized. Ovulation induction only works for specific dysfunctions. The treatment won’t work for tubal factors and severe male factors.
2. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI, or artificial insemination, is useful in treating infertility stemming from cervical factor and minor male factor infertility. Intrauterine insemination involves inserting washed, concentrated sperm cells directly into your uterus during ovulation. The treatment increases the chance of one egg being fertilized. If your doctor recommends IUI, they may also prescribe pregnancy medications to boost your chances of ovulating and successful fertilization and implantation.
3. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is one of the most successful infertility treatments, regardless of your medical issues. In vitro fertilization involves harvesting your eggs and sperm cells from your partner to complete external fertilization. The doctor will then carefully place the growing embryos into your uterus for implantation. IVF can resolve infertility from severe male factors, tubal factors, endometriosis, and diminished ovarian reserve. The treatment also works for the following:
- Combined male and female fertility factors
• Multiple miscarriages
• Same-sex family building
• When using an egg donor or a surrogate
• Removing known genetic disorder
• Gender selection and family balancing
Follow Up And Feedback
Fertility plans always include follow-up visits and checks. The goal is to make sure you conceive and carry a healthy fetus. Your doctor will determine a follow-up schedule depending on the treatment administered. If you’re undergoing IVF treatment, the dates are pre-established. The follow-up visits involve measuring pregnancy hormone levels. Your doctor may also use early ultrasounds and blood tests to determine if everything is okay.
Follow-up visits can ease the transition from your fertility specialist to your OB/GYN. You still have nine months before you can hold your baby, and various difficulties can develop. The fertility specialist will discuss the precautions and best practices to help you keep the baby healthy. You may also be put on other medications to support the baby’s growth and improve your overall health. Give accurate feedback to your doctor in case of any new development.
Working With A Fertility Doctor
The journey to parenthood can be overwhelming and emotional. You should choose an experienced fertility doctor with a growing reputation and a clean track record, to help you achieve successful conception. Work with long-serving clinics that can customize the treatment and assist you with any question or concern. Most cases of infertility are treatable, so all you need is a qualified, empathetic fertility specialist.