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When to See a Fertility Specialist

Patients are often confused about when the appropriate time is to see a specialist. There are many factors to consider before making the decision to see a specialist. Some factors to consider are age, tubal disease, a very low sperm count, and obtaining a proper diagnosis:

Age is the most common cause of infertility. Many people get pregnant in the first 3 to 6 months after stopping contraception. If your cycles are regular and you are under 35, seek help from your OB/GYN or reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist after 12 months of trying. If you are over the age of 35, begin fertility testing after trying to conceive for 6 months. If you are over 39, testing should begin within 3 months. If your cycles are not regular, seek help immediately.

Tubal disease If the fallopian tubes are blocked, a specialist should be consulted before proceeding with treatment such as surgery. The surgery for damaged tubes is often not successful and can increase the chance of tubal pregnancy. IVF can be a much more successful treatment and no surgery is necessary. If the fallopian tubes are blocked at the end and filled with fluid, hydrosalpinx, surgery is appropriate prior to IVF. Consultation with the specialist can determine the appropriate procedure. Their expert assessment can help prevent unnecessary second surgeries to perform the appropriate procedure.

Very low sperm count Patients should seek a specialist as soon as possible if the sperm count is very low or zero. Inseminations, fertility pills, and surgeries are usually ineffective with this diagnosis. These unnecessary medications and procedures can waste your time and money.

Proper identification of the cause of infertility is crucial to the most cost effective, and timely treatment. An infertility specialist can help you avoid unnecessary procedures, such as the advisability of laparoscopy when no symptoms of endometriosis or no history of infections are present and avoid tests of limited usefulness.
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About the Author

Dr. Herbert is a fertility expert and an innovator in the field.