A survey of a large fertility support group found that 78% of women struggling with fertility challenges wished they had seen a reproductive endocrinologist (a doctor who is board-certified to treat fertility challenges) sooner. For many, it is their #1 regret. So why do so many women wait?
They think they have time
Many women wait to see a fertility specialist or a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) because they want to keep trying on their own. They want so much to get pregnant on their own and have all this trying behind them.
We understand—we really do. No one wants to have to turn to a specialist to get pregnant, but fertility challenges are often best addressed with a specialist. In addition, the older you get the less likely it is that you will be able to get pregnant, with or without fertility treatment. Procrastination in making that first appointment lessens the likelihood that treatment will be successful.
If you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year, it is time to see your doctor. If you are 35 or over, or if you have reason to believe that you may be struggling with fertility challenges, see a doctor after 6 months of trying.
They prefer to see their gynecologist
Most women have a special relationship with their gynecologist. They have likely had deeply personal discussions over the years and trust the gynecologist’s advice. Your gynecologist is a great place to start when you are not getting pregnant. In fact, it is a good idea to start talking with him or her about your family-building timeframe even before you start trying to conceive. However, once you have been trying for over a year (if you are under 35) or less (if you are 35+), see your gynecologist, but if you do not get pregnant within a few months, it is time to switch to a doctor who specializes in treating fertility issues—a fertility specialist or an RE.
Did you know that an RE is also a gynecologist? Yep—they have the same training as a gynecologist (4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology). But an RE goes on for 3 more years of intensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Given that every year that passes reduces your chance of getting pregnant, do not spend too much time working with your gynecologist before at least getting a second opinion with an RE. Hopefully, you will be back with your OB/GYN soon for care during your pregnancy.
They do not think they can afford treatment
It is possible that your health insurance will cover some or all of your treatment. The fertility clinic will likely have someone who can help you review your insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered. Many clinics have financing plans to make treatment more affordable. There are also online or in-person support groups that can suggest ways that others have found to afford fertility treatment.
They don’t want to be infertile
For some women, going to see a fertility specialist or RE means that they are “officially” infertile. But until they make that appointment, they can believe that the lack of a pregnancy each month will somehow resolve on its own.
Having a diagnosis means that you will know what is wrong and your doctor can create a treatment plan. It means that you are one step closer to getting pregnant. Take that first step and make an appointment.