As people marry and begin their families at a later age, the odds for fertility problems increase. Fortunately, medical science has provided a number of solutions to the problem of infertility, and more couples are taking advantage of the availability of these procedures to help them achieve their dream of having a family.
Problems of Infertility
Infertility can be caused by many issues. Women’s fertility declines after the age of 30, and a number of problems with ovulation can occur. Lifestyle factors, such as obesity, smoking or being underweight can also affect fertility. Medical conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid diseases and bowel diseases can have an effect on the ability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. In men, low sperm count due to lifestyle factors, bacterial infection or problems with the structures that carry sperm can be issues in infertility. Men’s fertility can also be affected by exposure to chemicals or radiation, medical conditions or being overweight.
How a Fertility Clinic Can Help
An experienced fertility clinic will do tests to determine the presence of any physical or medical problems, so that corrective actions can be taken. The clinic will offer more extensive tests that are not provided by primary care physicians or traditional OB/GYN doctors. These tests may include:
- A full hormonal profile to determine for hormone problems
- Ultrasound to determine problems in the reproductive structures
- Hysterosalpingogram to check fallopian tubes
- Sonography to check problems in the uterus or fallopian tubes
- Semen analysis for men
- Sperm antibody tests to determine problems with fertilization.
Choosing the Right Fertility Clinic
There is a wide range of fertility specialists from which to choose, including sole proprietors, large practices, fertility networks and hospital or university clinics. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, in regard to individualized care and in-house services. You should ask questions concerning:
- Professional credentials and experience – Physicians and staff should have received specific training in infertility treatment.
- Success rates – Check a clinic’s rate of producing successful results with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which compiles this data on an annual basis.
- Costs – Fertility clinics can vary widely in the cost of their services and what is included in the care program, as well as additional expenses that may be incurred.
- Health Insurance – Most fertility clinics accept health insurance, but it is up to you to determine the extent of your coverage. Talk to your insurance company about coverage for fertility treatments, and the necessary drugs that are involved, to learn your responsibility in the total cost.
If you are ready to consult with a fertility specialist, contact the Reproductive Medicine Group to discuss your options for knowledgeable, professional care.