When Should We Start Seeing a Doctor for Infertility Treatment?
We hear this question very often in our practice. Behind the inquiry is a series of intense emotions often coupled with heartbreak.
We understand and empathize with our patients who have had trouble conceiving and wonder “when should we start seeing a doctor for infertility treatment?”.
We want to provide help and answers.
Most importantly, we want you to know that you are not alone and that we are always here to walk with you step-by-step through this challenging journey.
We’ll take a closer look at the common causes of infertility, treatment options, and how to know when to start seeing an infertility treatment specialist.
How Is Infertility Defined?
Before we begin, it’s important to look closely at what point of difficulty conceiving becomes infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying for women under 35 and after six months for women over 35. This is the first clear sign you need to see a doctor for infertility treatment.
Infertility can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, reproductive disorders, and lifestyle factors.
If you are struggling to conceive, it is important to know when to see one of our OBGYNs in Raleigh who can assist you with both work up and basic treatments of infertility.
When to See a Doctor for Infertility
If you have been trying to conceive for over a year (or six months if you are over 35) without success, it may be time to consider seeing one of our doctors for infertility treatment. It is also important to schedule an appointment with us if:
- You have irregular or exceptionally heavy periods,
- You have a history of pelvic infections
- You’ve had sexually transmitted infections
- You’ve had multiple miscarriages.
These are all factors that could influence your ability to conceive. If you have experienced these, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors for infertility.
It is also important to keep in mind that infertility can affect both men and women, so both partners should be evaluated if you are having trouble conceiving.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Infertility?
Assistance from one of our doctors can help if you are struggling with one of these common causes of infertility.
Causes in Women
Hormonal imbalances in women can have a significant impact on fertility. Hormones play a critical role in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation, and any disruption in this delicate balance can result in difficulty conceiving.
For example, conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders can cause hormonal imbalances that can affect ovulation and reduce fertility.
In some cases, hormonal imbalances may be caused by lifestyle factors such as stress or a poor diet. Treatment for hormonal imbalances may include medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both, depending on the underlying cause of the imbalance.
By discussing these issues with your doctor for infertility, we can get an overall picture of what may be causing the issue.
Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure, and hypothalamic dysfunction can all interfere with ovulation and reduce fertility. In some cases, ovulation disorders may be caused by lifestyle factors such as stress, weight fluctuations, or excessive exercise.
Treatment for ovulation disorders may include medication to stimulate ovulation, lifestyle changes to improve overall health and well-being, or a combination of both. These are treatments your doctor for infertility will discuss with you in detail.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Blocked fallopian tubes are another potential cause of infertility in women. The fallopian tubes are the pathways through which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus, and if one or both tubes become blocked, it can prevent fertilization from occurring.
Causes of blocked fallopian tubes may include pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or scarring from previous surgeries or infections.
In some cases, blockages may be corrected through surgery, while in others, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be necessary to bypass the blocked tubes and achieve pregnancy. A doctor for infertility will be well-versed in these matters and able to help you.
Age-Related Decline in Fertility
A woman’s fertility naturally declines as she ages, particularly after the age of 35. As women age, the quality and quantity of their eggs decrease, which can make it more difficult to conceive. Additionally, the risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome increases with age.
While age-related fertility decline is a natural part of the aging process, there are steps women can take to improve their chances of conceiving as they age. These may include seeking fertility testing and treatment earlier rather than later, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and considering options such as egg freezing if they are not yet ready to start a family.
Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to infertility. These include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Drug Use
Talk to your doctor for infertility about any lifestyle changes that can help increase your chances of conceiving.
Infertility Causes in Men
Many doctors for infertility will also ask your partner questions, because the issue may be due to sperm. In men, infertility is often caused by low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or structural abnormalities in the reproductive system.
We go into greater detail about these and other causes of infertility in our earlier article, “The Most Common Causes of Infertility and How Fertility Doctors Can Help.”
Treatment Options for Infertility from Your Infertility Treatment Specialist
There are many different treatment options for infertility, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or smoking cessation may be enough to improve fertility. Other treatment options may include:
- Medication to regulate ovulation
- Addressing hormonal imbalances
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- IUI involves the placement of washed and concentrated sperm directly into the uterus, bypassing the cervix and increasing the chances of fertilization
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- IVF involves the removal of eggs from the ovaries and fertilization with sperm in a laboratory, followed by the transfer of one or more embryos into the uterus.
If You’re Struggling to Conceive, See Our Doctors for Infertility Treatment at Associates in Women’s Healthcare
If you are struggling with infertility, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare provider who understands the importance of compassionate care. This is not just a physical challenge; it is an emotional one as well.
That’s why we understand that healthcare involves caring for the entire patient and their partner. It also involves a holistic and comprehensive approach to tailoring a plan just for you.
If you’ve been trying to conceive unsuccessfully, schedule an appointment to see one of our infertility treatment doctors in Raleigh.