When you are ready to have a baby and you are 35 or younger, do this:
Try for 12 months to have a baby on your own. Take your temperature, get the timing right, and don’t let anxiety override the fun. If you are 36 or older, try for six months.
After that, you can talk to your ob/gyn, who might remind you that one out of eight adults experiences infertility, and suggest you visit a fertility clinic.
As you prepare for this step, consider four important categories that will help you explore your options.
1. Evaluate Fertility Doctors
Anyone can call themselves a fertility specialist. The term has no specific meaning and the person making the claim has not necessarily had any training regarding infertility. Instead, look for a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, someone who has the highest available training in fertility treatment. These medical doctors follow four years of medical school with a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
After that, they receive three more years of training in reproductive endocrinology. Board certification tests their knowledge and requires written and oral examinations in obstetrics and gynecology along with reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, keeps track of pregnancy rates from participating clinics across the country and publishes them on its website. You will be able to compare pregnancy rates at various clinics.
2. Find Out Which Treatments the Fertility Clinic Offers
In vitro fertilization is the gold standard for fertility treatment. It is proved to offer the highest chance of success for women who have not been able to get pregnant any other way.
IVF is not the first step in fertility treatment, however. At your initial visit, the fertility clinic you choose should gather information about you and your partner, and begin tests to determine what might be causing infertility. Health care professionals should be available to explain all your potential options. It could be a hormone imbalance, a physical issue, or a combination of issues that is preventing sperm from successful connecting with egg.
Treatment might begin with a dose of drugs that prompt your hormones to signal the ovaries to release eggs. The next step could involve intrauterine insemination, which involves placing sperm as close as possible to an egg during ovulation. With IVF, eggs are removed from the woman and then fertilized with sperm in a lab before being reintroduced into the uterus. When successful, the process leads to an embryo and a pregnancy that concludes with birth.
As you might imagine, fertility treatment can be expensive.
3. Research Insurance and Affordability Options
If you are lucky, your health insurance will cover a significant amount of the costs. Most insurance does not. You can work with your insurance company, though, as well as your employer, to make sure you get everything you are entitled to. After you complete that task, you can look into grants, loans, and financing, including what might be offered by the fertility clinic.
Your first visit to any clinic should also include counseling with a financial services advisor, who will help you find the information you need to pay for treatment.
4. Remain Hopeful
You don’t need us to tell you that treatment for infertility can be long, nerve-wracking and sometimes discouraging. At the same time, a good clinic offers you a team that will support you and keep working toward the outcome you want – a baby. Although it can be scary to take the first step – before you know what is causing your infertility and what you can do about it – your doctor and everyone from the nurses, yoga instructors and receptionists are there to bolster your confidence and courage. They will help you with self-care, mindfulness and sense of well-being, and remind you why you are on this journey.
Are you ready to take the next step?
When you begin to compare fertility clinics for success rates, the types of support they provide, and doctor qualifications, we encourage you to add Illume Fertility to your list.
Our success rates are substantially above average, our doctors are highly trained and leaders in their fields, and our support staff and services are unequaled. As important, we share your goal: to have a healthy baby.