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Infertility: Do I Need a Fertility Doctor or an OB/GYN?
We can completely relate with you when it comes to being certain about what exactly you need to do about your fertility delays. What medications should I use? What lifestyle changes should I make? More importantly, what kind of doctor or specialist should I see?
Some of the emotions a lot of couples feel include:
Frustration: Because you are doing everything possible to get pregnant, but it just doesn’t seem to be working.
Embarrassment: Because people keep asking you questions or passing smirky comments about you starting a family and you are running out of “careful” answers for them.
Shame: This is more African than it is global, because the average African home is incomplete without the pitter-patter of little feet.
This is 2022, and if there is anything you need the most, it is hope. Seeing the right specialist and talking to someone who truly understands you, and who will not make you feel less human is very important.
You may wonder whether to see your OB/GYN or would you be better off going to a fertility specialist. Is there even a difference between both?
A visit to an OB/GYN is generally the first stop in your fertility treatment journey.
Your gynecologist can perform a preliminary fertility evaluation, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A common problem for couples with fertility struggles is how to properly time intercourse with ovulation.
However, 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’s had this extra training. If she hasn’t, she may only be familiar with a few of the more common fertility treatments.
If that is the case, you might want to consider seeing a fertility specialist instead. This is especially true if other treatment methods have been unsuccessful for you.
A fertility specialist has completed three years of specialized training with an approved reproductive endocrinology fellowship program in addition to an OB/GYN residency.
So, what do I really need?
When deciding between a fertility specialist and an OB/GYN, one thing you should strongly consider is for how long you have been trying to get pregnant, your medical history and your age.
While an over-the-counter urine test—known as an ovulation predictor test—can sometimes do the trick, your OB/GYN will most likely conduct a full evaluation to see if there are other factors affecting your ability to get pregnant.
You and your partner should consider having a fertility evaluation if you:
- Are under 35 years old and have been trying for at least one year
- Are older than 35 years and have been trying for six months
After the evaluation, if it is discovered that you have an underlying fertility issue—such as pelvic inflammatory disease or uterine fibroids—it may be time to consider seeing a fertility specialist.
Likewise, having irregular or painful menstrual cycles, or having a hard time tracking your ovulation could also prompt a first visit to a fertility specialist rather than an OB/GYN.
A fertility specialist should also be your first point of call if you have experienced a miscarriage more than once, if you or your partner have had (or currently have) an STD and if you or your partner are overweight or underweight.
Another reason to see a specialist sooner than later is if your male partner has a low sperm count. There’s no need to beat about the bush. Straight to a urologist! The Urologists are specially trained to handle issues related to male infertility.
Now that you know the difference, if you think you are ready to start your fertility journey, we want you to know that we are here to help you from start to finish. Our partner specialists are happy to give an audience to you and your partner’s issues and to proffer the best solutions that you get you started on your journey to parenthood.
Please do not forget to contact us if you have any questions. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Penn Medicine, American Society for Reproductive Medicine