Patients often first receive fertility care from their primary care physician, who may perform initial tests or start medical therapies. Physicians may then refer patients to a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. On average, appointments tend to be scheduled after six months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive.
Ultimately, you want to find a practice where you feel most confident, comfortable and understood. You should also examine the history and experience of the doctors and the range of services they offer. And, finally, consider the practice’s success rate. We invite you to see the success rates for Fertility Center of the Carolinas for yourself.
Infertility affects more than 15 percent of couples trying to get pregnant. It is defined as the “inability to conceive within one year despite having unprotected sexual intercourse.” For average fertile couples trying to have a baby, the chance of succeeding in any given month is approximately 20 percent. If a couple tries for 12 months, the chance of achieving a pregnancy falls to under three percent. It is at this 12-month point when a couple often seeks medical help.
Infertility affects both men and women. Problems with sperm account for almost 40 percent of infertility. Problems affecting women include ovulatory dysfunction, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, and endometriosis.
In both sexes, fertility declines with age, but age related fertility problems are far more likely in women. In men, fertility declines after age 50, but for women, fertility begins to decline at age 30. If you are a woman age 35 or older, consult your physician if you experience one year without conception and possibly sooner if you have hormonal problems or other medical conditions. Why? You are more likely to experience fertility difficulties and have less time to pursue treatment options. In the United States, 20 percent of women have their first child after age 35. A woman that age has half the chance of achieving a successful pregnancy as does a woman age 25.
Only four percent of women ages 15 to 24 have infertility problems. That number more than triples to 13 percent between the ages of 24 and 34. By age 40, more than a third of women experience fertility problems; 87 percent of women are infertile by age 45.
Several factors may make a fertility evaluation more useful before or up to one year’s time including:
A comparison of success rates among clinics may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics and treatment approaches may vary from clinic to clinic. To keep success rates high, for example, some practices may limit the types of patients they see; others may have patients who choose to limit the number of eggs used in ART procedures.
Variables include the following:
Success rates are reported in several ways:
It is also important to note the difference between a “clinical pregnancy” and a “chemical pregnancy.” The first is defined as having a heartbeat (determined by an ultrasound) at approximately seven weeks, whereas the second is a positive pregnancy test that does not materialize into a pregnancy. Further, a “take home baby rate” excludes clinical pregnancies that end in miscarriage or tubal ectopic pregnancies.
Visit the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology to view and compare clinic success rates.