When Should You Consult a Fertility Specialist
Getting pregnant is not always easy. It can be quite frustrating and disheartening if you do not get pregnant right away and, in many cases, couples conceive naturally just by continuing to try. However, it is important to know the right time to seek help and not delay treatment if fertility issues are suspected. Here are some signs that it might be time to consult a fertility specialist.
For couples where the age of the female partner is below 35 years, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) with ovarian stimulation is the preferred first line of treatment. IVF is recommended if the couple is unable to conceive after 3 cycles of IUI with ovarian stimulation.
Younger than 35 Years
For women younger than 35 years of age who are otherwise healthy with no apparent cause of infertility or subfertility, medical practitioners recommend trying to conceive for atleast 12 months before seeking help. In most of these cases, they do conceive within the first year of trying.
Older than 35 Years
As ovarian reserve is known to diminish with age, women older than 35 years are advised to consult a fertility specialist if they are unable to conceive after 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse.
Older than 40 Years
Becoming pregnant beyond the age of 40 can be very challenging and is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications. Women over the age of 40 years are advised to consult a fertility specialist before trying to conceive.
With Abnormal BMI
Women who are underweight or overweight may have a harder time conceiving and should consult a gynaecologist or fertility specialist before trying to conceive.
With a Thyroid Condition
Abnormal thyroid function can directly impact female fertility as it is closely linked to hormone levels. Visiting a fertility specialist to bring these issues under control can increase the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
With History of Ovulation Disorders
Women with known ovulation or menstrual disorders like PCOD or endometriosis must not delay pre-conception help. Many of these disorders like endometriosis are progressive in nature and should be evaluated sooner rather than later.
With a History of Infections in the Pelvic Region
Women who have had or currently have any infection like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can have scarring in their uterus, fallopian tubes, and other parts of their reproductive system. These issues must be diagnosed early for effective treatment.
History of Recurrent Miscarriages and Ectopic Pregnancies
The term “Recurrent miscarriages” is defined as two or more consecutive pregnancy losses. In some cases, this can be the result of an abnormality in the uterus and hormone abnormalities. Fertility investigations like an ultrasound can help in identifying and treating such issues.
With History of Sexual Dysfunction
In case of persistent and recurrent problems with libido and sexual function, a basic fertility evaluation is advised preconception.
History of Failed Fertility Treatments
Several factors can contribute to recurrent IVF or IUI failures including issues like tubal infertility. A detailed investigation by fertility specialists can give valuable insight regarding the causes of failure.
Male factor infertility accounts for almost one third of all reported cases. A semen analysis is recommended in the following situations:
- History of chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension
- History of sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders
- History of vasectomy or surgery in the pelvic region
- History of trauma to the pelvic region
- History of certain infections including mumps and sexually transmitted infections
- History of cancer and cancer treatments