When to See a Fertility Specialist

Couples who have trouble conceiving usually consult a fertility specialist. Generally, couples are unable to conceive for a number of reasons. Here are some of the general factors that couples and their fertility specialist look into:

For women

  • Women under 35 years old and have been unable to conceive after one year of regular and unprotected intercourse.
  • Women who have had a history of three or more miscarriages.
  • Women who need microsurgery or treatment for endometriosis or blockage or scarring of their fallopian tubes.
  • Women who do not ovulate regularly or who do not ovulate at all, and did not respond to previous drug treatments.
  • Women with irregular periods.
  • Mothers who tool DES – diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic form of estrogen – during pregnancy.

For men

  • Semen analysis showed low sperm count, low motility and/or poor morphology or structure.
  • Men who have undescended testicles.

For couples

  • Having known risk factors such as history of genital infections or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Couples who are considering assisted technologies such as IVF or in vitro fertilization or gamete intrafallopian transfer or GIFT.
  • A couple who has non-specific or "unexplained" infertility. These are couples whose tests came back normal but are still unable to conceive.

Fertility specialists for men and women

  • For men with fertility problems, consult with either a urologist or an andrologist.
  • Urologists – these specialists evaluate the kidneys, urinary tract, bladder and reproductive organs. Urologists usually perform semen analysis, check varicoceles (varicose veins in the scrotum), check hormone levels and order lab tests to check sperm quality.
  • Andrologists – these specialists focus on the physiologic, hormonal conditions that can affect infertility.
  • For women, consult with a reproductive endocrinologist or an ob-gyn/reproductige surgeon.
  • Endocrinologists – specialize in the treatment of hormonal disorders that can affect reproduction.
  • Reproductive surgeons – treat anatomical problems such as tubal obstruction, endometriosis, unterine abnormalities and other reproductive organ disorders that need surgery.