You may be just beginning your search for a child of your own, or you could be one of many individuals who has tried for years unsuccessfully to conceive. Whatever your situation, it is important to begin with the first steps toward learning more about what you can do to optimize your chances at conception and successful pregnancy.
There are numerous resources available for pre-pregnancy planning–become familiar with one or two of them, find ones that suit your taste in reading or viewing. In order to put your best foot forward on the pregnancy path, a little pre-planning can go a long way.
Delve into the mysteries of the reproductive system; even the most educated people can be surprised to learn some of the intricacies of reproduction. As with most puzzles, resolution becomes clear if you can focus on the entire picture first. From there, you’ll know the questions to which you need answers.
If you have never yet tried to conceive, invest some research time in the “how to” of conception. If you’ve tried without results, a review of the basics plus some new information could help you feel more empowered in your journey. Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, is one of the most recommended starter books on knowing your body and using that knowledge to either prevent or achieve pregnancy. Getting Pregnant When You Thought You Couldn’t, by psychologists Helane Rosenberg and Yakov Epstein offers helpful charts and physician-interview guides.
Once you have firmly rooted yourself in the basics of human conception, you will find yourself equipped to enter your physician’s office (if necessary) with a good beginning grasp on the concepts you’ll be discussing.
So, you’ve armed yourself with information, and you’re ready to go–if, after following all of the suggestions you’ve read and heard, you do not become pregnant after one year (for women under 30) or six months (for women over 30), it’s time to take it to a specialist.
While most women’s first discussion regarding possible infertility takes place in their regular OB/Gyn’s office, be prepared to seek more specialized assistance. While some OB/Gyn’s may “specialize” in fertility issues, that may not mean that they are up on the latest in reproductive medicine. It could simply mean that they have attended additional seminars on related topics. Know your specialists and understand which ones are right for your needs.
Generally, the growing trend is to seek assistance from a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). If, however, you are one of many who do not live conveniently located to one, or your insurance balks at covering an RE’s services, you may need to become even more of an advocate for yourself.
Some REs will offer consultative or even testing services to other doctors’ patients, at times even in different states. Speak with your physician about his/her willingness to consult on a regular basis with another physician of your choice, if needed. You can facilitate that relationship by realizing up front that this can mean more time spent communicating between professionals, therefore more time spent waiting by you for test results or treatment, for example.
It is important to approach the relationships with your physician and their staff with the attitude that this could be a long-term relationship. While hoping this is not the case, prepare for the possibility by starting with an easy manner of communication. Many medical professionals can feel defensive when approached by an educated consumer who comes on too strong. After all, what you are possibly just now learning about is their life’s work. On the other hand, a patient who seeks a mutual partnership with their physician and staff is generally appreciated.
Like many syndromes, disorders, and diseases, infertility can be a maze of questions. A tiny bit of new information can lead to another avenue to venture down. This can be frustrating, but finally seeing answers after your search will make the journey feel worthwhile. Approach your communications with medical providers with a sense of learning, and you should find yourself in a smoothly working relationship.
Some people may find that they have unproductive ways of thinking about the doctor-patient relationship. For example, it is not uncommon for the patient to believe that doctors know everything about a given subject, and therefore, anything that is suggested by the medical team is not to be questioned. Others may feel that physicians are generally cold and uncaring scientists, and that medical suggestions are to be heeded only with great caution. We all know the truth is somewhere in the middle, but we may have had experiences that are imprinted on our psyches, experiences that may possibly disable us in our future doctor/patient relations.
It is important to be aware of how you feel about doctors and other medical personnel. If you find your feelings standing in the way of optimum communication, talk with other people about their approaches to medical providers. Find new ways of communicating in order to make the relationship work for you.
Many causes of infertility are treatable, and with our rapidly advancing medical technology, even “unexplained” infertility may someday be explained and treated, also. Having a trusting, comfortable relationship with your medical provider is essential to your own ability to persevere through testing and treatment.