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 Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.