Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) – Fairfield county’s largest fertility clinic (with four convenient locations and five board certified Reproductive Endocrinologists)– compiled the most common questions received about fertility. Our physicians and clinical staff have used their considerable knowledge and expertise to answer the questions so that you can better understand your reproductive health situation.
Is infertility a “women’s problem”?
Infertility is a medical problem that affects both men and women. Approximately 35% of infertility is due to a female factor and 35% is due to a male factor. In the balance of cases, infertility results from problems in both partners or the cause of the infertility cannot be explained.
How long should we try before we see a doctor?
In general, if you are less than 35 years old and have been trying for more than one year you should schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist. If you are greater than 35 years old we would like to see you after at least six months of properly timed, sexual intercourse. However, if you have a reason to suspect you may have a problem getting pregnant such as a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular menstrual cycles, or if your partner has a low sperm count, you should seek help sooner. Many couples have a hard time admitting that there may be an infertility problem, but be reassured there are many things we can do to help you build your family.
At what time of the month is a woman fertile?
The most fertile time of a woman’s cycle is just before or on the day of ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before a period starts, so it is necessary to count backwards from the anticipated start of the next period in order to find the most fertile time. Take the number of days in the usual cycle (from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next) and subtract 14. For example, a woman with a 32-day cycle would likely ovulate around day 18 (32-14=18), while a woman with a 28-day cycle would ovulate around day 14 (28-14=14). We recommend every other day intercourse around the day of ovulation. That would mean days 12, 14 and 16 for women with 28 days cycles.
How can a woman tell if she ovulates?
A good indicator that you are ovulating (necessary for becoming pregnant) is getting your menstrual cycle regularly. Counting as day one from the first day that you have a full flow of blood until the next day of full flow will tell you how many days are in your menstrual cycle. Generally having a cycle that is between 24-36 days is considered regular. Having a longer or shorter cycle does not mean that you have are not ovulating or have a fertility problem, this is just an indicator. Keeping track of your menstrual cycle is valuable as a part of your medical history if you do need to see a fertility specialist.
Using an ovulation predictor kit can tell you more accurately whether you are ovulating or not. You can purchase them over the counter at a pharmacy and at major retail drug stores. See above for details regarding ovulation predictors and please remember that they are not 100% accurate. If your period is irregular, make an appointment to be seen by a fertility specialist.
What fertility testing should our fertility doctor perform?
Your doctor should do the following:
Are hot tubs really bad for a man?
Yes. High temperatures can damage sperm. That is why the scrotum is located outside the body – to act as a kind of “refrigerator” to keep the sperm cool. So, it is a good idea for the male partner to avoid hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms while you are trying to conceive.
What else can we do?
Learn as much as you can about infertility.
We wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy. Although this is an exciting time, it can also feel overwhelming. We have compiled this list of our patients’ most frequently asked questions in order to provide you additional information and guidance as you enter into the early weeks and months of your pregnancy. Of course, always feel free to call your nurse for guidance or any additional concerns. Most Obstetrician/Gynecologists want to see you between week 8-10 of your pregnancy so be sure to call and schedule an appointment in line with what your OB requires.
Frequently Asked Questions in Early Pregnancy
Is it safe to color/highlight my hair?
Studies done have not shown that hair color or bleaching can cause birth defects. Most salons offer vegetable dyes that do not contain bleach, and some OB/GYN’s prefer that you use these in the first trimester. The March of Dimes has commented on this, you can check their website to see their exact statements.
Can I continue to have acupuncture once I am pregnant?
You can continue, or start, to have acupuncture once pregnant. Acupuncture, and acupressure, may relieve many of the pregnancy-associated symptoms that people experience, such as joint pain, sciatica, and maybe even nausea. Just be assured that your practitioner specializes in women’s health, as there are certain acupressure points that may cause uterine cramping. Ask your nurse or coordinator if you are interested in seeing one of the specialized acupuncturists at RMACT.
When do I make an appointment with my OB/GYN?
We will continue to see you at RMACT until you are 8-9 weeks gestation. At your last ultrasound appointment, your physician will encourage you to make an appointment with your OB. Most OB’s will want you to see you in their office between 8-13 weeks so that they can offer you first trimester testing. Please be sure to sign a record release form at the front desk so that we can send your blood results to your OB in a timely manner.
“Infertility can be confusing, and people frequently ask questions because they want to know if they should seek help from a fertility specialist,” says Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director. “The questions and answers below are intended to give some basic knowledge. Many couples put off seeing a fertility specialist when they are having trouble getting pregnant, but they are typically reassured after being diagnosed and starting a treatment plan.”