Fertility specialists help people struggling with fertility issues. Fertility issues are vast and exist in both men and women. Specialists can pinpoint specific areas of concern and implement treatments to resolve the problems and help the person conceive.
Finding the right fertility specialist requires a bit of research. The first step for any prospective fertility patient should be a conversation with the gynecologist. A gynecologist will be able to counsel patients to see if a fertility specialist is necessary and offer a referral. The doctor will conduct a series of tests, including blood work, to determine if the patient is experiencing any fertility issues. For men, a urologist performs tests to assess the health of the reproductive organs. The next step requires additional research.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK A FERTILITY SPECIALIST?
When looking for a specialist, most people turn to fertility clinics. These clinics deal exclusively with patients that have fertility issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might be the place to start. The organization has a database that lists different fertility clinics in the country and success rates of the medical procedures performed there.
BEFORE DECIDING ON A FERTILITY SPECIALIST, PATIENTS MUST ASK A FEW KEY QUESTIONS:
Ask about success rates
One of the first questions a prospective patient should ask a facility is the types of services the facility offers and the success rates. Ask about the number of procedures performed annually. These answers give the patient insight into the facility’s patient load and the effectiveness of treatment.
Training of the facility’s staff
A fertility clinic includes staff that ranges from personnel in the administrative office to doctors and surgeons. A patient should look for a facility with experienced staff members who are accustomed to handling a variety of cases, including unique ones. Patients want to know that the administrative staff can handle scheduling and insurance claims and the providers can deal with high-risk pregnancies and other medical conditions.
Details on egg and sperm storage
In addition to providing fertility treatments, fertility clinics also must store the eggs, embryos (fertilized eggs), and sperm for future treatments. Talk to specialists to learn more about the technology used to preserve these valuable specimens. At two different clinics, glitches in reproductive technology led to the loss of thousands of embryos, eggs, and sperm cells that can never be recovered. There are laws in place to protect genetic property so speak to these clinics about the safeguards and precautions taken to preserve genetic material.
Learn about evaluation and treatment timeline
Timelines for treatment vary based on the patient’s medical condition and the healthcare provider. It’s likely that the fertility specialist has a copy of the patient’s medical history on file to reference. However, the physician still needs to conduct an independent physical examination including tests to gauge the patient’s health. Patients should inquire about the examination process.
WHAT TO DO MOVING FORWARD
When talking to reproductive endocrinologists or OB/GYN that specialize in infertility conditions, have a thorough discussion to fully understand the process. Being armed with information about what to expect of the process and timeline is the best way to make an informed decision.