Each couple’s fertility journey is unique, from their challenges to their successes. Determining when to seek the expertise of a fertility specialist is no different. It really depends on your individual situation. At UNC Fertility, we encourage our patients to take their time and figure out what is right for them. We are here, when you are ready, to develop a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your dream of building your family.
Infertility issues are quite common, one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant. We generally recommend that women 35 and younger who have been trying to get pregnant for a year, or those over 35 who have been trying for six months, meet with a fertility specialist to discuss their situation. It is also important for women who have experienced more than three miscarriages to seek a specialist’s care. Often, women who have miscarried go on to have healthy pregnancies, but more than three miscarriages may signal a fertility issue.
Fertility specialists — also known as REs (reproductive endocrinologists) — complete additional years of training, beyond that of OB/GYNS, in diagnosing and treating fertility issues. Your RE is an expert in recognizing and treating a variety of conditions, including:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Ovulation problems
- Repeated miscarriages
- Abnormalities of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries
It is important that both partners be tested if they are having trouble conceiving. Statistics indicate that up to 40 percent of infertility is attributed to male conditions, which can include issues with sperm production or delivery. Other causes may include:
- Problems getting or keeping an erection
- Problems with ejaculating
- Undescended testicles
- Groin surgery or injury to the testicles
- Testicular tumors, cysts or cancer
- Post-puberty mumps
- Illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid disease or heart disease
- Sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
There are many things you and your partner can do in your day-to-day life to help improve your chance of getting pregnant. Diet, exercise and general wellness can all impact your fertility. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health, and has been shown to have an affect on fertility.
Women with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 29 or less than 19 may find they have problems conceiving. Smoking, alcohol and recreational drug use can pose problems for both men and women. Excessive time in a hot environment or too much time sitting down may cause the testes to overheat, which can contribute to fertility issues. Work environment may also play a role in fertility issues. Too much contact with certain chemicals and radiation has been shown to be detrimental.
There are many reasons you may be experiencing fertility issues. We are dedicated to determining the cause of your infertility, putting together an effective treatment plan and helping you discover your best path to parenthood.