When Should I See a Fertility Specialist?

Fertility specialitst

If you are trying to become pregnant and are wondering whether you should see a healthcare provider or a fertility specialist, it is important to know what factors can and cannot impact fertility. There are several myths about what can affect fertility, and it is important to get accurate information and the right healthcare support before trying to conceive. If you have been trying for some time and things are not happening as quickly as you had hoped, it may be time to consider seeking additional support.

There are several myths about what can affect fertility, but it is important to understand the facts. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts:

Myth: Taking hormonal birth control for years will prevent me from being able to conceive.

Fact: Previous use of hormonal birth control will not impact your ability to conceive.

Myth: My body size will make it difficult for me to conceive.

Fact: While there is some evidence that weight and fertility are related, people of all sizes and with various health conditions can still become pregnant. Fertility specialists recommend eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and being physically active to optimize the chances of pregnancy.

Myth: My past use of alcohol and tobacco will prevent me from being able to conceive.

Fact: Previous use of tobacco and alcohol is not likely to affect your ability to conceive. It is recommended to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake in the months leading up to trying to become pregnant.

Myth: If I am having trouble conceiving, it is entirely my fault.

Fact: Remember that your worth is not determined by your ability to conceive. It is common to experience difficulties with fertility, and there can be many medical conditions that can affect fertility that can be addressed. Keep in mind that fertility is not solely the responsibility of the person with the menstrual cycle – the partner with sperm also plays a role in conception.

When should I start seeing a healthcare provider about my fertility?

It is recommended to schedule a preconception visit with a healthcare provider before you start trying to become pregnant. The specific timing of when to seek additional support depends on how long you have been trying and your age. If you have regular periods, you can consider each cycle in which you have been actively trying to become pregnant through unprotected sex or home insemination on specific cycle days as "trying." Here are the recommendations for when to seek additional support:

  • If you are 34 years old or younger, talk to your healthcare provider after trying to become pregnant for 12 months.
  • If you are 35 years old or older, talk to your healthcare provider after trying to become pregnant for 6 months.
  • If you are 40 years old or older, talk to your healthcare provider now about your plans for pregnancy.

What should I bring to my appointment?

It is normal to feel anxious or uncertain about what to expect when visiting a healthcare provider to discuss trying to conceive. To help feel more prepared, you may find it helpful to create a folder of personal information to bring with you to the appointment. This information will allow the healthcare provider to give you more personalized care.

  1. Cycle data you tracked while trying to conceive, including the length of time you have been trying and any other relevant cycle-related experiences.

  2. The specific days you have had sex, as certain days of the cycle are more favorable for trying to conceive than others. Knowing when you had sex, as well as other factors such as changes in cervical mucus, can provide the healthcare provider with important information about your cycle and help them tailor their advice to you.

  3. Your medical history, including any health conditions, surgeries, accidents, or traumas you have experienced and your mental health history. It is also helpful to bring a list of any medications and supplements you are currently taking.

There is increasing evidence to support the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help people conceive. Acupuncture is the most commonly used CAM approach and may help regulate ovulation or reduce stress. While there is limited research on other CAM methods such as homeopathy, herbs, and supplements, mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation may be beneficial while trying to conceive. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using CAM therapies. It is important to discuss the use of these therapies with a specialist to determine their potential benefits or harms in your specific situation.

If you need a sperm donor

If you need sperm from a donor to become pregnant, a healthcare provider can help you explore options like intrauterine insemination (IUI), home insemination, or assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). When purchasing sperm, it is important to go through a trustworthy healthcare provider to ensure safety and quality. Obtaining sperm through other methods, such as online or through community networks, may pose personal health risks.

There are certain medical conditions that can affect fertility.

If you have or have had any of these conditions, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider about managing the condition and whether the care of a specialist is recommended. It is important to note that having a condition on this list does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to conceive or automatically need special care. In some cases, managing the condition as well as possible may help you become pregnant. If you do need help conceiving, it is worth noting that many people are able to conceive using assisted reproductive technology (ART).