Talking to your doctor about infertility

You and your partner have decided it’s time to have a baby. Maybe you’ve already been trying without success. When is it time to see a fertility doctor? Here are some things you’ll want to know before seeing a doctor for fertility.

For more information, talk to the fertility experts at the Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.

Video: When Is It Time to Seek a Fertility Specialist? | UPMC

Who Should See a Fertility Specialist?

A woman should see a fertility specialist if she is under the age of 35 and has been trying to get pregnant for more than a year or she is older than age 35 and has been trying to get pregnant for six months with no success.

Fertility decreases, and risk of miscarriage increases with age. About 12 percent of women ages 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or multiple miscarriages also can affect a woman’s chance of pregnancy.

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Before Seeing a Fertility Doctor

There are things you can do to try to get pregnant before seeing a fertility specialist. Learn when you’re ovulating— the time when your chances of getting pregnant are higher. Ways to find out when you’re ovulating include charting your basal body temperature (your temperature when your body is at rest, like in the morning before you get up) or using a home ovulation kit.

In addition, your primary care doctor or gynecologist can perform a physical exam, review past medical history, check your partner’s semen quality, and test for hormone imbalances.

Fertility Specialists

A fertility specialist is a medical doctor who has served an obstetrics and gynecology residency and completed special training in reproductive endocrinology.

A fertility specialist can provide a high level of reproductive health care, including evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

RELATED: How to Talk to Your Doctor About Fertility 

Qualifications: Finding Your Fertility Doctor

Ask your gynecologist for recommendations and consider a clinic’s birth rate, a great indicator of whether the clinic is successfully getting women pregnant. You can visit the CDC’s Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) surveillance page to search for clinics by state or view the national report on ART data collection and success rates.

Additionally, find out a clinic’s rate of multiples births. If the rate is low, this is a good sign that the clinic is following safe ART guidelines.

If you have a specific fertility problem that may need specialized care, you may want to consider only the clinics that are trained to deal with those issues.

Personal Choices and Fertility

Other factors couples should consider before seeing a fertility doctor are the cost, the time it may take to successfully conceive, and how far they are willing to travel.

Cost is an important factor. It’s estimated that one round of ART treatment may cost more than $10,000. Talk to your partner and decide on a budget.

You should also decide how long you are willing to try to get pregnant. Many couples assume that once they see a specialist they will be pregnant in a matter of months. However, it can take much longer so set a time limit you’re comfortable with emotionally and financially.

Seeing a doctor for fertility can be an important step in the process of conceiving a child. Talk to your partner and your gynecologist about your fertility options.

For more information, talk to the fertility experts at the Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.