The ideal flow between an OB/GYN and a fertility specialist should be relatively seamless. While a fertility diagnosis may not trigger contact with a fertility specialist, it should inspire a heart-to-heart conversation with your OB/GYN as you discuss treatment options and the point at which it is time to seek a fertility specialist referral.
It’s important to note that migrating from your OB/GYN is not a forever decision. In fact, regardless of how long you work with your fertility specialist, you’ll still visit your OB/Gyn for annual wellness visits – including the very important pap smears and pelvic exams. And – if all goes well – you’ll be transferring back to your OB once you’re officially pregnant!
Reasons to Consider Making the Move From OB/GYN to a Fertility Specialist
Here are some of the reasons or signs indicating that it’s time to seek the expertise and support of a fertility specialist (also known as a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist).
You have cancer
Any cancer diagnosis requiring surgical and/or treatments that threatens fertility should automatically send you to a fertility specialist for consultation. We may want to look at fertility preservation or egg freezing.
You’ve been trying to get pregnant for 12-months without success
If you’re 35-years or younger, and you’re not getting pregnant after 12-consecutive months, it’s time to consider a full fertility workup with a specialist. Similarly, if you’re older than 35, time is of the essence so it’s worth consulting with a specialist after six consecutive months of trying.
You have a medical condition known to cause infertility
Things like endometriosis, fibroid tumors, PCOS, diabetes and other medical conditions are known to cause infertility. If you already know you have one of these conditions, it’s worth consulting with a fertility specialist within three- six-months of trying to conceive (TTC). If other treatments and/or oral fertility meds aren’t working, you probably require more in-depth fertility treatment options.
Your infertility factor required surgical intervention
While it’s true that OB/GYNs are trained to perform laparoscopy and other surgical procedures required to treat things like fibroids or scarring, it’s also true that fertility specialists are trained to perform reproductive surgery with a heightened emphasis on fertility preservation. If you have an infertility diagnosis requiring the removal of cysts, tumors, uterine fibroids, etc., make sure you only trust a surgeon who is very experienced in that arena. In some cases, you’re best off trusting it to the infertility specialists who are highly-attuned to your fertility health.
Your partner’s semen analysis revealed low sperm count and/or low quality sperm
If your partner was tested by his physician and the results included low sperm count, morphology and/or motility, you’ll want to work with a fertility specialist who can wash and prepare the sperm for IUI – or IVF – in order to increase your odds of conception.
You’ve experienced recurrent miscarriages
Miscarriages are considered common individually, but repeat or recurrent miscarriages are usually a sign something is preventing a health conception or pregnancy. It could be an anatomic abnormality in the uterus, a genetic or chromosomal issue, or even an immunological cause. A fertility specialist will determine why you’re miscarrying and tailor fertility treatment(s) accordingly.
You’ve been pregnant before, but now it’s not working
If you got pregnant easily before, but you’re struggling this time – you could have what we call secondary infertility. While age or changes in your partner’s sperm quality could be factors, there is also a chance your immune system is the cause.
Is it time for you to see a fertility specialist? Experience matters when choosing a fertility clinic. Contact us here at Fertility Center of Dallas. We’re passionately committed to accurately diagnosing our patients, so we can quickly determine the best course of fertility treatment for them.