If you’re ready for a baby, you may expect that the first month you don’t use birth control or actively try to conceive, that you will have a positive pregnancy test. That may not happen. Don’t jump to conclusions; it may very well happen the next month. Or the month after.
If it doesn’t happen pretty soon, likely you will have some questions, such as, “When should you start seeking help? How long should you try to conceive on your own?”
When to See a Fertility Specialist
Most heterosexual couples, who are trying to become pregnant appropriately, will conceive within six months to a year. (Appropriately would mean that the couple is attempting to become pregnant at the time of the month where conception can take place.) Conventional and medical wisdom advice is that if you are under 35, you can try on your own for up to a year. If you are over 35, the time shortens to six months.
Fertility, Infertility & Sub-Fertility
We often see the inability to conceive within those proscribed time periods defined as infertility. That’s the word used- infertility, when in fact, it’s typically sub-fertility. True infertility would mean that becoming pregnant was impossible and that is not the case with most couples.
Sub fertility means that you need help conceiving. The same way that one out of six couples will have to, with professional and appropriate medical help. The medical specialty for sub and infertility is Reproductive Endocrinology. Here is the description of what Reproductive Endocrinology is, taken from the Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) website.
What is Reproductive Endocrinology?
Reproductive Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This requires 4 years of medical school followed by completion of a 4 year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Training includes:
- Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the female reproductive tract
- Care of pregnant women
- Delivering babies
After completing a residency program, a physician would apply through a highly competitive system to receive additional training in Reproductive Endocrinology. This is referred to as a fellowship and includes a 3 year intensive training program, which focuses on understanding the complexities of the human female reproductive system.
What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?
Reproductive Endocrinologists receive board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. These require both written and oral examinations.
This is the type of doctor that will optimize your chances of having a successful pregnancy. Next week, we will talk about what an initial consultation with a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist will entail and soon after that, what typical fertility treatment protocols include.
It’s our hope that you won’t need us. That in one more month, you will be pregnant and that everything will go well. What we want you to know is that we are here in case that is not how things go for you. We also want you to know that your journey with sub fertility could be a very short one. Many fertility patients need very little medical intervention for a successful pregnancy.
We wish you luck. Let us know if you have any questions. We’re happy to answer them.