Knowledge is power!✊ It is so important to be your own advocate no matter where you are on your infertility journey. Kyle and I wasted so much time in our journey by failing to speak up, because we didn’t know what to ask. In my experience with infertility, you will have 1 of 2 doctors – one that will hold your hand, guide you and take every possible approach, or the other that will tell you “give it a year” and then move on to the next patient. It is so easy to blindly trust doctors, and also so overwhelming when you turn to the vast unknown pages of the internet. My best advice is to seek out other #infertilitywarriors (and amazing IVF doctors on social) in the community and learn through their experience.
From their advice, you can start to learn about yourself and your partner and make a list of questions to go to your doctor with. Here are a few that I suggest talking to your doctor about:
- If your periods are, or become irregular (start tracking them)
- Your sexual habits with your partner
- Ovulation tracking (and what methods you are using)
- Side effects of medication you or your partner are on
- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – Ask for testing you AND your partner for fertility problems!
Here’s a fun fact I learned from my doctors at the REACH clinic. If you don’t have any known underlying issues, after six months of trying, you can and should see a fertility specialist. Also, unless your insurance requires it, you don’t need a referral to go!
It is also so much easier now to be extra equipped with at-home testing for both you and your partner. There are many companies that will send you kits and with a small sample, can give you vital information about your fertility that you can then bring to your doctor. These kits can tell you your hormone levels, information about your ovulation, and information about sperm count, which can be useful in convincing your doctor there is a need for further testing. Keep in mind, these kits do not replace the testing your doctor will do, ultrasounds are vital, but it can indicate a problem.
Sometimes, medical professionals aren’t going to have all the answers, or do it for you. You must be your own advocate in your fertility journey. Speak up if something feels wrong, or you don’t understand something. You know your body and what is normal for yourself.