Many patients who walk into our office for the first time have been trying to conceive naturally for a very long time, and enter quite confused and discouraged.
Making the decision to seek help from a reproductive endocrinologist is a very personal and often daunting process, and so patients generally take their time to book that first appointment. This delay is completely understandable and logical. Unfortunately, many first-time patients sit down with us only after agonizing over their fertility options for an extended period of time. Much of this distress could have been avoided for the patient, if only there was better information available about when was a reasonable time to seek out the help of an infertility specialist. This blog will seek to answer some of those questions.
The standard rules for diagnosing infertility are if women are younger than 35 years of age, it’s reasonable to try to conceive naturally for one year; if 35 years of age or older, trying for six months is reasonable. These guidelines are not cut-and-dry, however; critical, exceptions apply.
Women Under 35
An important note is that the rule for women under 35 does truly apply to all women under 35: if you are 25 years old, want to have a baby, and have been trying to conceive for a year, it is certainly reasonable to make an appointment with an infertility doctor. Many women who have not reached the age of 35 but have spent more than a year trying to conceive will follow advice of friends, family, or their OBs to keep trying and not worry about their fertility yet. This can delay a woman’s family building or even harm her chances at conceiving if she is experiencing infertility issues, which could be managed by a reproductive endocrinologist.
Women 40 and Over
For those women 40 and older who wish to conceive but are experiencing infertility, it is reasonable to book an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as possible. At this point, egg quality and quantity starts to drop rapidly, and it is wise to seek help quickly. A specialist can counsel you on how to proceed in growing your family and strengthen your chances of delivering a healthy baby.
Your Personal Health History
Another caveat to the standard timeline is for women who have known health issues that may interfere with reproduction. These can include endometriosis or PCOS, or other conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or hypertension. If you have a family history of infertility or early menopause you may be at higher risk for difficulty conceiving, therefore it makes medical sense to see a specialist earlier than some other patients might.
Women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages, even if they have not had difficulty conceiving, should consult an infertility specialist as soon as they are ready. These experts can help patients better understand possible causes of their miscarriage and plan how to move forward with a healthy pregnancy and avoid another loss.
Overall, the most important factor in deciding when to schedule your first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist should be your personal desired timeline for growing your family. If you have been struggling with infertility and want to consult a reproductive expert, visit our contact form or call our office at (973) 322- 8286.