How long should a couple with fertility problems wait before seeing a specialist?

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Many couples encounter difficulty in conceiving. But, when is it time to see a fertility doctor? Read on to find out.

Deciding to start a family is one of the biggest decisions a couple will make together.

However, conception is not always easy for everyone. While some get pregnant on the first try, others only achieve success after a few months.

But, what if a year passes and you still can’t seem to get pregnant? Is it time to seek professional help?

One mum took to theAsianparent Community to seek the advice of her fellow mums.

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screengrab: theAsianparent Community

“As a guide, doctors usually recommended seeking professional help if you have been trying for a year. If you are over 35, you can consult a fertility specialist after six months of trying,” one parent wrote in response.

One mum, Febby A., believes the decision to see a specialist depends on a woman’s needs as well as on her “biological clock”. “Do you have more time?” she asks the concerned user. “If not, then I don’t think you need to wait to meet a doctor.”

“I think it depends on when you want to go after trying for long time as well as your age as well.”

Another mum recounted one of her friends who encountered fertility struggles. “They waited a few years before trying. They tried so hard then they went to fertility expert, unfortunately it was not successful then they gave up,” writes Tikky N.. “Few months later, my friend got pregnant. I think it depends on when you want to go after trying for long time as well as your age as well.”

Cathy L., now a mum of two, shares how she once had difficulty conceiving. Her gynecologist told her it usually takes a year before you should seek medical help for fertility issues. She also recommends getting a sperm test for her husband done prior to any fertility treatments.

A natural fertility expert also responded to the posted question, saying: “After 12 months of trying randomly or 6 months, if you are trying on the best days where you see clearly, slippery cervical mucus that looks like raw egg white.”

Next page: How can you know if you should visit a fertility doctor?

There are a lot of ways to determine whether you’re ready for your first visit to a fertility specialist.

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photo: dreamstime

  • If you’re under 35 and you’ve been struggling to get pregnant after a year of trying (through having regular, unprotected intercourse), then it’s time to pay your doctor a visit.
  • Have you had a history of miscarriages? Three or more miscarriages are enough reason to seek medical help.
  • If you’re undergoing treatment for endometriosis or conditions related to your fallopian tubes, such as blockage or scarring. It’s time to schedule a check-up.
  • Do you ovulate irregularly and unable to correct this through medication? You should see your doctor immediately.
  • Taking a look back on your medical history as a couple could also provide helpful hints. Have you both suffered from genital infections or pelvic inflammatory disease; how about irregular periods, or undescended testicles? These may all be possible factors that are inhibiting your fertility as a couple.
  • As mentioned earlier, having a semen test done could also be of help. This test will determine sperm count, motility, and structure.
  • If you’re considering undergoing procedures such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to help you become parents, then a visit to a professional is essential to prepare you for the process.
  • There is also something known as “unexplained fertility” which happens when couples can’t seem to bear a child even after all their test results have come back normal. It’s best to ask your doctor about this.

Next page: What should you ask during your visit?

Questions to keep in mind on your first visit

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photo: dreamstime

Though it’s perfectly fine to visit the doctor on your own, it’s best if you and your partner are together during your medical appointment.

But before your visit to a specialist, take note of these questions to get a better picture of what the doctor provides, how much it will cost, or to just get a general feel of the place—it’s important to feel comfortable in a clinic and establish rapport if you’re visiting a new physician.

  • Do you have a call-in time or hotline where I can raise questions or concerns?
  • Will you be our official doctor or are there other specialists in this clinic you’ll be referring us to?
  • Are your laboratory and ultrasound offices open on weekends? How about on holidays?
  • If it is indeed determined that we need assisted reproductive procedures, can they be done on the weekends?
  • Are procedures such as IVF done in the office or at a different location?
  • How many live births and multiple pregnancies resulted from doctor’s treatments?
  • Are there support groups or counsellors provided by the doctor’s office?
  • What are the payment schemes? Which insurance is accepted?

Though your journey to parenthood may be a struggle, preparing yourself is one of ways to make the ride a bit easier.

Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. 

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