The experience of infertility can be an emotional roller coaster for any woman. The Mayo Clinic reports that an estimated 10 -15% of couples have trouble getting pregnant or getting to a successful delivery. The process of dealing with infertility issues can be overwhelming with the vast amount of information and resources available. It is understandable why someone dealing with infertility challenges may feel confused.
If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility and taking the next step to visit a fertility specialist, here are 11 important questions, compiled by experts in the field, to ask during your visit.
1. What are your credentials and history in dealing with infertility? This is an important question because while your OBGYN may be your first stop in finding out information about infertility, it is unlikely they actually specialize in this area. Stephanie Caballero with the Surrogacy Law Center explains that your best bet is to look for a board certified reproductive endocrinologist.
2. When should I seek treatment? When trying to get pregnant, it can be a constant weighing issue as each month passes with a negative pregnancy test. However, some specialists will not consider you for treatment unless you have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for over 12 months, while others require at least six months of trying. Age plays a factor, so be sure to consult with the specialist that you are planning to visit.
3. What tests will my partner need? For heterosexual couples, it is not only the woman who needs to undergo testing and procedures when it comes to fertility issues. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, about one-third of infertility can be attributed to male alone factors.
4. What fertility options are available? Dr. Jesse Hade of Newway Fertility explains, “While IVF is a very common fertility treatment, it's certainly not the only one available. Be sure to ask your doctor what all the options are so you can make the best decision for you and your family.”
5. What pricing options are available for treatments? Dr. Hade goes on to discuss that along with different treatment options, cost can also be a factor to consider. Dr. Hade states, “There are many affordable options when it comes to treating infertility. IVF is certainly on the costlier side, but there are many newer, less expensive alternatives that are quite effective. For example, IVM is a more affordable approach to fertility that is newer to the US, but has seen great results worldwide. Other options to consider may include IUI, IVF/M, and others.”
6. Could you explain your calculation of success rates? Dr Valérie Vernaeve from the Eugin Clinic reveals that some clinics may be skipping patients that could lower their statistics. While there may be no definitive evidence of this, it’s important to know their criteria for accepting patients for fertility treatments. Specifically ask if they accept women ages 35 and over.
7. What are my ovarian reserves, and how do they help determine my fertility? Dr. Mylene Yao, the CEO and founder of Univfy, suggests asking your specialist this question as ovarian reserves are one of the top predictors of IVF success (age being another predictor). Understanding what your ovarian reserves are and why they are important can help you have a better understanding of your potential success with fertility treatments.
8. What tests can I take to measure my ovarian reserves? Dr. Yao also suggests having your specialist outline the procedures used to measure your ovarian reserves as there are several different types of tests used to distinguish this count.
9. Can dietary supplements improve my fertility? According to Angela Grassi of the PCOS Nutrition Center, the answer could be yes. Grassi states, “Vitamin D, myo-inositol, omega-3 fats and n-acetyl cysteine have all been shown to improve egg quality and ovulation. Many women can conceive easily with regular use of these supplements and don't need to undergo aggressive fertility treatments.”
10. Should I consider freezing my eggs? This is a question many may consider if they are not currently at a point in their life where they want to become immediately pregnant, but would like the option in the future. This is an especially important consideration for those who may have a cancer diagnosis, family history of premature menopause, or are over the age of 30 and not considering pregnancy in the near future, explains Nancy Cullins, an infertility consultant.
11. Should I consider preconception DNA testing? According to Mullins, this testing is important for anyone who wants to have children. Mullins states, “Today's saliva and blood tests can help determine your carrier status for inheritable genetic disease. The findings will help protect the next generation when results are positive.”
For more information, read 7 Simple Ways to Increase Fertility!