When you make the decision to start the journey of parenthood, chances are you can’t wait to conceive. For a number of reasons, becoming pregnant might involve a few extra steps. That’s where fertility doctors come in. At West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center in Sherman Oaks, CA, we provide many services that can help you conceive. If you think it’s time to speak with a fertility doctor, we can’t wait to get to know you and help you on your journey.
What Can Fertility Doctors Do for You?
If you have been unable to conceive by spontaneous conception, or if you have a situation that you think will make conception difficult, a fertility specialist can evaluate you and help you become a parent. We can offer treatments, surgeries, lifestyle changes, and referrals to donor programs. You can also seek treatment for your partner. If you are not ready to conceive just yet but want to have a family in the future, a fertility specialist can offer egg freezing.
Here are some of the most common reasons people see fertility doctors:
You Have Been Trying to Conceive on Your Own for Over a Year
Regardless of your age, if you have been trying to conceive for over a year without becoming pregnant, seeing a fertility doctor is highly recommended. When you begin trying, the chance of conception is 20% each month. 85% of couples become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. During the next year, the chances drop to 1% each month.
At that stage, a fertility specialist can greatly increase the likelihood of your having a baby. We recommend that women under the age of 35 come in for an evaluation after one year of unsuccessful trying.
You Are Over Age 35 and Would Like to Conceive
As we get older, the quantity and quality of our egg count decreases. The ovarian reserve refers to the number of eggs a woman has at any given time. We are born with all of our eggs, and we do not make more as our lives go on. At age 20, a woman has about 86% of her ovarian reserve. By 35, she has 52%. The ovarian reserve declines until it reaches 0 during menopause, which occurs between ages 50 and 60.
A diminished ovarian reserve does not mean that you cannot conceive. However, if you are over 35, it’s a good idea to see a fertility specialist early while there is still time to solve any issue that could prevent you from becoming pregnant. We recommend that women ages 35 to 40 make an appointment after 6 months of trying on their own. If you are over 40, you should come in to see us before you begin trying so that we can optimize your chances of success.
You Are Single or Lesbian
We believe that every loving person deserves the chance to become a parent. There are many options available for single women and lesbian couples who would like to have a child.
You can choose to conceive with sperm that is collected from an anonymous donor or someone you know. If you decide to go the anonymous route, we can connect you with donor programs that can help.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
If you use sperm from a donor, this treatment will deliver it to your uterus from a catheter. It is a quick process that is straightforward and requires no down-time.
Your Partner Is Having Fertility Issues
Did you know that male infertility and female infertility both have a 40% chance of being the cause behind a couple’s difficulty conceiving? A fertility specialist can evaluate men as well as women. In the case of male infertility, many treatments are available. They include:
- Lifestyle coaching to achieve better health
- Medicines that encourage ejaculation
- IUI for the female partner if the male cannot copulate or to store sperm before chemotherapy
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) in the case of a male partner who has a low sperm count, abnormally shaped sperm, or low sperm mobility
- Surgical treatments to reverse a vasectomy or remove a blockage from the reproductive tract
You Would Like to Find or Become a Surrogate
A surrogate is a woman who receives another woman’s embryo in her uterus through a transfer and carries it throughout the gestation period. She can be a friend, a relative, or a contact who is found and screened by an agency. Sometimes, the sperm is from the intended father and sometimes it is from a donor.
Surrogacy gives people the opportunity to become parents in many situations that would otherwise prevent them from doing so. It benefits women who have had their uterus removed surgically or were born without one. Many women who have had several miscarriages or a lack of success with IVF can have a baby with this method. It is also a good option for gay men who would like to start a family.
Pelvic Disease Is Affecting Your Fertility
There are a number of pelvic issues that are very common among women. When the uterus, cervix, or fallopian tubes are compromised, conception can be difficult.
Common Pelvic Issues
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Cervical factors
- Fibroids and polyps, or non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterus
The treatment process begins with taking steps to understand the issue. We will do X-rays and other tests to determine the nature of the situation. Sometimes, we perform a Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS), which is a test that uses a catheter to look at the inside of the uterus.
The kind of treatment you receive for pelvic disease depends on the condition you have. In the case of fibroids and polyps, a small surgery can usually remove them easily. In the case of endometriosis, we can take steps to decrease your pain and simultaneously help your fertility. For a range of other issues, fertility medications and antibiotics are helpful.
Your Health Is Affecting Your Fertility
Sometimes, some simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your ability to conceive. When you come in for an evaluation, we will ask about your smoking, alcohol use, and caffeine consumption. If you are overweight or underweight, taking steps to achieve a healthier body composition can help. Stress also plays a factor in conception. We provide coaching that can improve your health and possibly resolve your fertility issues.
Your Ability to Ovulate Is Affecting Your Fertility
If you are not having regular cycles, hormone therapy or ovulation pills can induce the production of one or more eggs. Clomid is a medication prescribed for women with normal estrogen levels who do not ovulate. It results in 80% of women who take it ovulating and 50% becoming pregnant. For women with abnormal hormone levels, oral pills or injections could bring the body to a balanced state that results in conception.
You Could Benefit From a Surgical Treatment
For some people, surgery is the answer. Surgical treatments can address issues in the uterus, the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. Some surgeries that have helped people conceive include:
Some women are born with a wall of muscle or avascular fibrous tissue (septum) dividing their uterus in half. This happens because the female fetus actually develops the uterus in two halves that later join together. For some women, the process doesn’t finish naturally. The presence of a divided uterus can cause miscarriages and other fertility issues. Through surgery, we can remove the division and create one cavity where the baby can develop.
Ovarian Cyst Surgery
While very common, ovarian cysts can pose fertility problems. Many go away on their own, but some persist and pose a cancer-threat. If we determine that an ovarian cyst might be the cause of your infertility or that it could create a future health problem, we can remove it easily with a small surgery.
Fibroids cause issues for many women. They do not always need to be removed, but if they show symptoms, fibroid surgery can solve the problem.
Polyps are small tissue growths that occur in the uteri of many women. They can create a variety of issues including miscarriages, difficulty with implantation, and irregular bleeding. The surgery to remove them is usually straightforward and can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
You Would Like to Preserve Your Fertility for the Future
Egg freezing is a method of collecting eggs and saving them externally for future conception. Each frozen egg has a 4% chance of surviving the thaw and reaching the state of pregnancy. Therefore, we recommend that young women freeze 20-25 eggs and that older women freeze more.
Sperm freezing is similar to egg freezing. It is a way to extend the fertility of males.
With a 70-80% success rate, embryo freezing is a way for couples to freeze fertilized embryos instead of relying on eggs or sperm. This approach often includes genetic testing to assess if the pregnancy will result in a healthy baby.
When Is Fertility Preservation a Good Option?
These treatments started as a way to allow people who were preparing for chemotherapy or ovarian removal to conceive afterward. Today, it is still a good option in these situations. It is also a way for people to plan for children after their natural fertility decreases with age. Even if you can conceive spontaneously now, it is a good option to freeze eggs if you plan on having more children when you are older.
Getting an AMH Test
If you would like to better understand how many eggs are left in your ovarian reserve, an AMH test can determine whether or not you have a low count. It can be very beneficial for women over the age of 30 who are deciding whether or not to choose fertility preservation.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to learn more about how fertility doctors could help you on the path to parenthood, schedule a consultation with us. We would love to meet you in person and learn about the goals you have for your family. At the beginning of this process, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. Together, we can take some time to clarify the treatment possibilities and explore different options.
Life and Love Are Unstoppable
There is no mold from which perfect parents are formed. Everyone’s body is unique, and everyone chooses a different path in life. We believe that physical obstacles should not stand in the way of loving families. There are many reasons you might want to see fertility doctors. Whether you are just now realizing that it’s difficult to conceive or are ready to look into advanced solutions, such as surrogacy, our practice can find a way to help you bring life into the world.
Contact West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center in Sherman Oaks, CA for more information on our fertility treatments. We would love to support your growing family.