You’ve been tested. Perhaps you’ve opted for advanced testing and come to the realization that you require a specialist dealing only in fertility issues. Welcome to the search for a good Reproductive Endocrinologist, commonly known as an RE…,believe me, you will start to use this acronym quite frequently.
You might start your search by getting online and finding the ones closest to you in your particular city. Depending on if you live in an urban or a remote area, your choices can seem overwhelming or perhaps quite limited in scope. Still, regardless of how many RE’s are located near you, wouldn’t it be best to know something about how successful they are in helping women become pregnant? Yes, it is possible to find this information out. Read here about how your search should start with SART data…
If you’re anything like I was, I started by searching in my area and, since I live in a large city, found that I had quite a number of clinics from which to choose. But which one? Then to make it even more difficult, within each clinic, I found several doctors in each practice and could only know something about each of them through online profiles detailing their medical experience and education. But was that enough and was I making a truly informed choice? In my case, it was definitely not enough to have made the right choice. I ultimately chose my first RE (from 5 that I would eventually have over the length of my 12 year journey) based upon their proximity to my job and the particular doctor’s impressive medical education. It was my first foray into a specialist and I thought that this doctor would be the solution to my infertility issues. Perhaps if I had been an “easier” case, it might have been true. Unfortunately, I was to be one of the tougher cases to solve which required other advanced expertise.
I approached my visits with little doubt that my doctor would solve my problem and I would be pregnant within a few months. When this didn’t occur and we didn’t get any closer to a solution, major doubts now started to creep in. Looking back, I should’ve been better prepared for my visits. I should have done more research and gained some knowledge instead of blindly following through with what was told to me. For example, I had a normal AMH level for someone at that age (1.6) but was told that I had a relatively low level which meant that I’d have to become pregnant quite soon or risk not having my own biological child. Again, having used the Internet and done my own research I could have found answers and insight from other sources. However, this doctor’s warning scared me greatly and I immediately opted for 3 rounds of IUI’s (Intra-Uterine Inseminations), which all failed.
Again, if I had been more proactive and asked pertinent questions about my own situation, I would have realized that given my blood clotting disorders, large fibroids and endomyosis, the chance that I would become pregnant by an IUI was minimal. (Read Margo’s personal story for more about me). I would’ve opted for a different route instead of spending the time, energy and expense on these eventual failed attempts. I digress. Ok, so now what? Because it was stressed again how urgent my imminent egg demise was, I did my first IVF shortly thereafter, but was completely in the dark of how to best prep my body for it beforehand so as to achieve better results. FYI- Since it takes a minimum of 3 months to make a significant impact on overall egg quality and health, I could’ve made the changes necessary to improve my IVF success. But rushing into it, I had a horrible yield of very few and very poor quality eggs (meaning that they didn’t fertilize correctly and were fragmented).
At my consultation to discuss next steps, I was told that given my low AMH levels (again, misinformation) and my poor egg yield, that the best solution for me was to opt for donor eggs as soon as possible. Really?? If that’s the case, then why the rush if they weren’t even going to be my eggs anyway? Why did this doctor feel this was my best option after only just one unsuccessful attempt? I was floored. Thankfully, my bullheadedness didn’t accept this statement as truth and decided to go elsewhere for a second opinion…and I’m so glad that I did.
My point here is to show you just how important it is to find someone who is right for you. Just as in any relationship, both sides need to feel the proper connection and understanding in order to reach a very important goal…overcoming your infertility issues. Just as you are selective in all facets of your life, this professional relationship should be considered as important as all the others. It could make the difference in the financial and emotional strain placed on you and your partner, the amount of time your journey actually lasts, and your eventual success.
Be proactive- Do your research and come prepared. For more on blood tests you should consider before any specialist’s consultation, read our article The Beginning of the Journey.