The Birds and Bees of Infertility
Written by Dr. Conway
We were all given a version of the birds and the bees talk. We assumed when the time is right, and we are ready to start our families, it would happen naturally. But sometimes it does not happen so easily. Infertility affects 15% of couples and can be a frustrating and difficult disease? The good news is that for the majority of those couples, the causes and challenges of infertility can be overcome. One of the many questions we are left with is “how do you know when it’s time to take the plunge and seek an infertility evaluation”?
The general rule of thumb is if you and your partner have been having regular unprotected intercourse for one year with no conception, it’s time for a thorough examination. If the female partner is over the age of 35, however, it is recommended to seek a workup after just 6 months of trying. If there are other known conditions that may cause difficulties conceiving such as irregular menstrual cycles, recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome or male factor considerations, seeking help sooner is advised. Women are born with a set number of eggs as opposed to men who produce new sperm every day, so the issue of ‘aging eggs’ is why women over the age of 35 should be evaluated earlier.
Now that you have made the decision to seek help, what should you consider in choosing? A women’s health provider can start the infertility evaluation on the female partner and begin treatment with ovulation induction. Your OB/GYN physician may refer you to a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist for further evaluation of both partners and treatment. In many cases it is perfectly reasonable to go directly to a specialist. When seeking a fertility specialist, you should ask some important questions, including:
- Is the fertility center SART compliant?
- What are the physicians credentials?
- How are the center’s pregnancy rates?
- How much does treatment cost?
- Do you offer comprehensive treatment and a variety of financial options: should be considered?
Utah Fertility Center is a leading center in the intermountain region and is one of only three SART reporting centers in Utah specializing in infertility. The UFC team led by medical director Russell A. Foulk, MD understands the challenges of infertility and manages with expertise and compassionate care. Utah Fertility Center offers locations in Pleasant Grove, Murray and St. George. Dr. Foulk along with Shawn E. Gurtcheff, MD, MS and Deirdre A. Conway, MD magnify hope and produce results for couples facing this difficult disease.
The most effective means to overcome frustration with infertility is to learn what is causing it and to create a path to overcome it with realistic endpoints. To help empower patients with learning, the Utah Fertility Center conducts free patient seminars each month. Remember that investigation of causes does not necessarily commit you to treatment if you choose to continue to try on your own. On the other hand, if the testing does uncover an abnormality, treating the underlying problem will expedite your ultimate goal of building your families, conceiving a healthy baby or leading you to other options. For seminar and additional information contact Utah Fertility Center at 801-785-5100.
This article appeared in the October issue of Healthy Utah magazine.