It’s natural to start your fertility journey at your OB/GYN’s office. They may well be a long-time advisor for many of your health issues. But your fertility window is a real time limit, especially when it comes to using your own eggs and having a biologically related child. It may be up to you to know when it’s time to switch to a fertility specialist.
Can an OB/GYN help with fertility treatments?
Some obstetrician-gynecologists undergo extra training to better treat patients who are struggling with fertility difficulties. If your doctor is board certified in reproductive endocrinology, then she/he has had this extra training. It may make sense to get some of the initial evaluations done at their office – like seeing whether or not you’re ovulating regularly. Some gynecologist offices are comfortable prescribing fertility medications and even performing IUIs (intrauterine insemination). These procedures may cost less at their office. But be aware, they may also be less effective because of their equipment.
If your OB/GYN hasn’t had extra fertility training, she/he may only be familiar with a few of the more common fertility treatments.
When should I see a fertility specialist?
Depending on your age and how long you’ve been trying, you’ll most likely want to advance to a fertility specialist sooner than later. If you are under 35 and have been trying for one year or if you are 35 or older and have been trying for six months, we recommend you make an appointment at a reputable fertility clinic. Miscarriages are awful to go through and they suck valuable months out of your fertility window. If you have two or more in a row while trying to conceive, it is time to seek help. A certified fertility specialist may be able to rout out a cause and prevent a third miscarriage before it happens.
Even with a fertility clinic’s expertise and advanced equipment, getting pregnant can take time. You only have 12 chances per year. And your egg quality and quantity decline with age. Once you’re pregnant, your fertility doctor will hand you back over to your OB/GYN at about 10 weeks for monitoring.
Keep in mind too, a fertility clinic will most likely want to redo any fertility evaluations your OB has done which may erase any cost savings.
How do I switch to a fertility clinic?
First steps, make a new patient appointment at a fertility clinic. They will collect your history and most likely schedule an ovarian reserve assessment which involves collecting a blood sample and performing an ultrasound. Also, in these first steps, your partner, if you have one, will need to get a proper semen analysis done at a fertility lab. Accessing male fertility too often gets done late in the timeline and up to 40-50% of fertility issues are due to male factor fertility issues. If male suboptimal sperm parameters are discovered, they can usually be overcome. Identifying issues is the first step in improving your chances and getting you to a viable pregnancy and a healthy baby.