You may have spent the last 12 months unsuccessfully trying for a baby, searching the internet for how long it normally takes to conceive, and wondering whether or not to see a fertility doctor in San Francisco.
And now, in the New Year, you may finally be ready to commit to a plan of action. If your New Year’s Resolution includes making an appointment with a San Francisco reproductive endocrinologist, congratulations! You’re taking an important first step on your fertility journey.
Still, the process can be intimidating, and, frankly, a little bit overwhelming. You might be unsure what fertility treatments are available and which is right for you. That’s why Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California (RMANorCal) Drs. Scott Morin and Jonathan Kort, who see patients in San Francisco and Palo Alto, have put together an Infertility 101 for couples and individuals just beginning their journey.
Here are a few things they think you should know.
You’re not alone.
Although infertility can seem like an isolating experience, knowing you are not alone can help you stay positive and give you the resolve needed to continue the journey. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight American couples experience infertility. The good news is that many seek help and find success in starting their families.
There are many causes of infertility.
It’s easy to speculate as to why you’re having trouble getting pregnant or why you’ve had several recurrent miscarriages, but the truth is, it could be several causes. Fertility is complex, and getting pregnant requires a lot of pieces to come together perfectly at just the right time. In fact, even in healthy, young couples, there is only a 20 per cent chance in any given month that the egg and sperm will come together and an embryo will implant. So with those numbers in mind, any complication in that chain of events can result in months of trying without success. Common causes of infertility include diminished ovarian reserve, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, or a low motile sperm count in men.
Treatment is available for your situation.
There are generally four treatment paths for patients. The first is natural cycle monitoring, or when a doctor determines a woman is most fertile and suggests when to have sex. The second is when a doctor prescribes medication that will help a woman ovulate, and then suggests when to have sex. Then there are the two most common procedures, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). During IUI, a woman takes medication that helps her ovulate, and, just as she is ovulating, doctors insert the sperm into her uterus. Finally, during IVF, a woman’s eggs are removed and fertilized with sperm in the lab. One of the resulting embryos is then placed back into the woman’s uterus at its most receptive time. Again, if this seems overwhelming, that’s OK. Your doctor will work with you to figure out which treatment path is right for you.
Choosing the right clinic matters.
When it comes to fertility clinics in San Francisco, it’s important to make the right choice for you. Because not all clinics are alike, you should be looking for clinics that perform Single Embryo Transfer, offer embryo testing, and can point to high success rates. Other pluses include clinics with state of the art embryology laboratories and fertility doctors who are also certified as technical supervisors in the embryology and andrology labs. Finally, choosing a clinic you feel good about is important too. Do the doctors make an effort to get to know you? Are your calls returned? Do you feel comfortable in their care?
Learn about egg freezing and services for LGBTQ patients.
We know that every individual is unique, and the same goes for families – they come in all shapes and sizes. For example, egg freezing is available for women who are not ready to start their family or have not yet found their partner. For the LGBTQ community, egg and sperm donation is available, and gestational surrogacy is an option, too.
Infertility is tough, but it gets a whole lot more manageable if you share your journey with others. While it’s hard to open up about something so personal, it can help to talk to those you trust, whether it’s your partner, a close friend, a family member, a therapist, or even someone else on the same journey.
Now that you’re prepared to pick up the phone, go ahead – take control of your fertility today.
If you or your partner are struggling with infertility, book a consultation to meet with Dr. Kort or Dr. Morin today by calling (415) 603-6999.