The vast majority of infertility patients wish they had gone to an infertility clinic for treatment sooner. For many, it is their major regret. Learn from their mistakes: get to an infertility specialist sooner!
We did a survey of our large online community of people suffering from infertility and 78% said they wished they had seen an infertility specialist sooner.
I absolutely wish I had seen a fertility doctor sooner! I knew my body wasn’t working correctly when I was 30 and told my ob/gyn. By 35, my ob/gyn still wasn’t encouraging or even mentioning RE’s [reproductive endocrinologist]. By 39, I finally got the referral but think it was too late. I had many procedures, surgeries, IUI’s with different hormone approaches, and only had one an ectopic pregnancy. I am now 43 without enough money for IVF and diminished ovarian reserves. I would need egg donation. I have turned into the blunt one telling any woman over 35 to get to an RE or at least get testing done. ~Holly
And I believe that percentage is actually a little low because it included a number of people who said that they couldn’t wish that they had gone to a specialist sooner because that would mean that they wouldn’t have ended up with the kids they have now.
If I had gone to an infertility clinic sooner, I wouldn’t have my child that I have now. Looking at my daughter, I can’t imagine having any other child. There are so many things that can change that journey or timeline, I think we just have to do things as they come and as we are ready to accept them. ~Deb
While I completely understand the sentiment, I think it skirts the questions of whether seeking treatment sooner would have saved them a lot of heartache and angst.
Why Get Into Fertility Treatment Sooner
Like it or not, age is a major factor not only in natural unassisted conception but is also a major factor in the success of infertility treatment. The younger you are when you get to an infertility clinic, the greater the likelihood of getting pregnant.
OMG!!! YES!!!! Go! Quit hesitating and go! The younger you are, the more likely the treatment will be successful. The longer you wait, treatment success rates decrease. ~ Ellen
Some women expressed that even if seeing a specialist sooner would not have resulted in a successful pregnancy, they still wish they had been diagnosed sooner. The burden of not knowing and continually trying is so hard! Understanding what is wrong brings peace of mind.
Yes, is wish I’d seen a specialist sooner! If only to have the piece of mind. To know that there is a reason and I don’t have to “just relax”. The years of trying (and failing) took a huge toll on me psychologically. Had we been able to see a doctor and be diagnosed sooner, I would have been able to save myself the heartache and the pressure that I was putting on myself (and my husband). ~Kelly
Why People Wait So Long to See an Infertility Specialist
Most people who have not conceived within a year are seeing a doctor about the issue, just not a specialist. Almost all of our survey respondents were seeing their gynecologist and many were receiving treatment for infertility from their gynecologist.
Several years ago, we did a survey asking people why they stayed with their gynecologist for treatment of infertility without success. The results were surprising. The main reason given was that their gynecologist told them that they could treat them for infertility and did not suggest that they should see a specialist.
Quite a few women, when pressed admitted that they didn’t want to get a second opinion at an infertility clinic because they didn’t want to hurt their gynecologist’s feelings. This is not as surprising as it might seem at first glance. For many women, their longest relationship with a doctor is with their gynecologist. Many do not even have a primary care physician. They share personal and intimate information with their gynecologist and have formed a deep level of trust and respect. It is understandable that seeing another doctor can feel like a betrayal of this trust and respect.
What did surprise me was the number of women who were told by their gynecologist that they would not be able to have kids who simply accepted this diagnosis without seeing a specialist.
My gynecologist told me that because of my weight and age (I was 34 when I started seeing him) that I wouldn’t be able to have kids. He said he’d try Clomid, but since that didn’t work, I couldn’t get pregnant. I had never heard of a reproductive endocrinologist and even if I had heard of it, my doctor wasn’t going to refer me. ~R.E.
My gynecologist office said that they treated infertility. We stayed there for 5 years with no pregnancy. I didn’t know any better to start asking the right questions. We wasted so much time! Fortunately, we started seeking treatment when we were pretty young, so when we finally went to a real infertility clinic we were able to have 4 kids in 4 years. ~Rayne
Lack of Information about Impact of Age on Fertility
Many women expressed that they not only wish they had seen an infertility doctor sooner, they also wished that their gynecologist had warned them about the possibility of infertility when they were younger and waiting to start a family.
I spoke to my ob in my early/mid-thirties about fertility testing because it had been recommended by a friend. I was single at the time and not planning to have kids right away. He brushed me off because I wasn’t planning on having kids then and he said there was nothing that could predict the future. In hindsight, I wound up with premature ovarian aging and if it had been caught earlier maybe could have frozen some eggs. I’m kind of pissed about that one. ~Courtney
Yes, I wished I had seen a specialist sooner!!!! But we married late, which was part of our issue. I think more needs to be said and available to women in their late 20s or 30s about egg retrieval and freezing if their intention is to eventually get married and/or have kids. I had NO idea the impacts of trying later in age. Maybe that’s my fault. ~Danielle
Do you wish you had seen an infertility specialist sooner? What took you so long?[sws_green_box box_size=”515″]
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- E-guide: How to Choose an Infertility Clinic
- Is Waiting to Have Kids a Good Thing?
- What to Expect from Your First Fertility Clinic Visit[/sws_green_box]
Image credit:Robert Bieber; sandonapt; Tiffany Liao
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