When should you see a fertility doctor?
“When should I see a fertility doctor?”
This is a question I get a lot, and honestly there’s no one right answer–it’s going to depend on you, but let’s dive into some of the guidance I give my clients.
But first, let’s establish conventional medical recommendations for when to see a fertility doctor:
- Women under 35 who have been trying for 1 year + and haven’t conceived
- Women over 35 who have been trying for 6 months + and haven’t conceived
- Women over 40 should start by seeing a fertility specialist
- Anyone who’s had 2 or more miscarriages should see a fertility specialist
This is the conventional recommendation given by western medicine, but there are a few more factors I’d consider as well.
Here are some additional questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to consult a fertility doctor:
1. What’s my age and how much time pressure do I feel? (These may or may not be connected)
2. Am I okay with IVF or do I want to try everything I can to conceive naturally first?
3. Do I feel I have 6 months to work on my health?
4. Do I have regular periods and know I’m ovulating?
5. Have I looked at other hormonal imbalances like thyroid issues?
6. Have I worked on my stress levels?
7. Have I adjusted my self-care routines like eating, sleeping and exercise to support my fertility?
If you feel like you’re under tight time pressure to conceive (I know we all feel some of that pressure!), and you’ve already addressed lifestyle factors and ruled out other hormone imbalances, it may be time to see a fertility doctor.
On the other hand, if you feel like you could give yourself 6 months to change your diet, routines, and stress levels, or you feel strongly about trying to avoid IVF (or your insurance doesn’t cover it!), you may want to wait a few months and see if you can shift your own fertility first.
Many of my clients are looking to do everything they can to improve their overall health in the hopes of conceiving naturally, or boosting their odds of success with IVF.
If this is you, I’d take a good hard look at your cycles, your hormone balance and your overall lifestyle and stress levels. Address any issues or imbalance there and give yourself 6 months to see changes reflected in your body. Many women are able to conceive more easily at this point.
This obviously doesn’t work for all women, but even if you end up needing reproductive assistance, you know you’ve worked on your health beforehand, which can have a positive impact on IVF outcomes.
However, if you’re concerned there may be a major issue, or you have a history of PCOS, endometriosis or another reproductive problem, you may want to see a specialist right away.
And some women want to see a fertility doctor right away just to assess their options. That’s totally fine, too.
My only advice is that fertility doctors will sometimes push you to move forward with fertility treatments pretty quickly, usually without addressing lifestyle or other factors within your control that could help improve your outcomes.
For some women, this can add a layer of stress. It makes them feel like they’re broken and there’s nothing they can do.
Many women feel hopeless about their odds of conceiving after being told their eggs are “old” or other things like that. I fully believe there’s a lot within your control that can increase your chances of conceiving–either naturally or with assistance. But fertility doctors won’t usually address those things, so just be aware of that, and know what you want your journey to look like, and how quickly you’re comfortable moving towards IVF.
Some women are ready for that step right away, but some aren’t. Know what you’re comfortable with, because it’s your journey and your choice.
Ultimately there’s no one right answer and a lot depends on your timeline and what you want your journey to look like. A fertility coach can help you assess your goals and fertility, and support you in making the right decision for you.
Still not sure what to do? Book a session with me here. We’ll do a deep dive into your fertility and hormone history, look at your timeline and goals and I’ll help you decide what’s best for you.
Whatever path you choose is the right one. Just make sure you’re the one making the decisions.
To empowered decision making!
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