Seeking advice from a Fertility Specialist
It can be incredibly frustrating for couples when the New Year rolls around and after what seems like a lifetime – they’re still not pregnant.
It’s around this time that many start to struggle with why this isn’t happening as quickly as they may have hoped. So, when is the best time to ask for help? Monash IVF Fertility Specialist Dr Nicole Hope answers your questions.
How long should I try to have a baby naturally?
In medical texts, infertility is defined as being unable to conceive after 12 months of regular unprotected sex. However, age is one of the most important factors impacting on your fertility, so if you’re over the age of 35, you should really be seeking help after six months, or after three months if you’re 40 years and older. This is because a woman’s fertility declines so rapidly from her mid-30’s.
It’s important to remember that everybody is different! So, if you feel you want to seek help earlier than what is typically defined, then by all means see someone. Ultimately, if you have any concerns, you should consult with a fertility specialist as soon as those concerns arise.
Why isn’t it working for me?
Again, it’s important to remember that everybody is different so the reason that one couple may be struggling to conceive will more than likely not be the same concern as the couple standing next to them.
For some women and couples, it might be as simple as not tracking their cycle and ovulation correctly and therefore they are missing their pregnancy window. For other women, there could be an underlying gynecological condition, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis.
It’s also good to remember that almost half of couples who struggle with infertility will encounter issues with male factor fertility – it take’s two to tango!
What is the difference between seeing my GP and a Fertility Specialist?
Often, the first step women or couples will take when commencing their fertility journey will be to visit their local GP. A GP is a good place to start as they can offer some basic testing and write you a referral letter to come and see a fertility specialist. A fertility specialist is a trained gynaecologist who has undergone further specialised training in fertility. A fertility specialist’s main focus is helping women and couples have a baby.
Some gynaecologists, including myself, have undertaken further training to complete the Certificate in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility (CREI). By obtaining the CREI qualification, our fertility specialists are fully trained to provide the highest level of expertise to Monash IVF patients.
What is involved in seeing a Fertility Specialist?
Whether it is the first time you will be seeking fertility advice, or you have previously seen another doctor or specialist, you will receive individualized recommendations for investigations and have a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
You will most likely carry out some preliminary investigations and discuss different treatment options suitable for you – remembering that not everyone will require IVF treatment to achieve their dream of having a baby.
To ensure you get the most out of an appointment with a fertility specialist, we suggest you complete the following tests with your GP and bring along your results:
– Blood tests, including the routine antenatal (pre-pregnancy) hormone and infection screening tests
– Pelvic Ultrasound
– Up-to-date pap smear
– Semen analysis
– Relevant blood tests
You’ll also need to obtain a referral letter from your GP to ensure you’re eligible for Medicare rebates.
How do I get started?
Dr Nicole Hope
MBBS.Hon FRANZCOG CREI
Dr Nicole Hope is a fertility specialist and gynaecologist who has completed post-graduate specialist training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (CREI). As a Clinical Director with Monash IVF, Dr Hope specialises in both male and female infertility, offering patients a wide range of treatments including ovulation induction, IUI, IVF, donor treatments and egg freezing.
Dr Hope consults from Box Hill, Bundoora and Clayton. To make an appointment to consult with Dr Hope, please contact us.