What doctor do I go to to see if I’m fertile?
It’s a big decision to choose a fertility specialist… this person might play a massive role in how your family grows over the coming months and years.
The thing with fertility is that there is still so much that is not understood. It’s not just black and white, and it is NOT just a recipe you can follow. Some guidelines, but the reality is that what works for one person may not work for the next, and what is ‘proven’ to help might not be what YOU need…
There are some fundamental things about fertility: you need eggs and sperm, they need to be able to meet, and the embryo needs to be able to grow… but that’s not all. There are numerous other factors we know about, and who knows how many we don’t know about, which can impact your chances of success.
Added to that is that different people respond to different people in different ways – we all know someone that we just don’t ‘gel’ with for one reason or another, yet some of our friends seem to like them… sometimes it’s hard to understand…
Fertility specialists are human, too – and this can happen with your fertility specialist. Your friend might have recommended them, or you read all their reviews online. They sounded Ah-mazing, but when you enter the room, you don’t feel it…
What you need to think about is what’s important to YOU. Not to your neighbour’s cousin’s best friend… but you!
Each of these clinics does things slightly differently, and within each clinic, the specialists are all human and have their own way of interacting with their patients.
For example, I have heard from a client of her experience with an unnamed fertility specialist who said:
‘you’ve paid a lot of money to see me and ask my opinion, please stop asking so many questions and just do what I tell you‘
Types of Clinics in Australia
In Australia, fertility clinics come in various forms to meet diverse needs. Mainstream clinics like Monash IVF offer comprehensive services and state-of-the-art facilities. Boutique clinics provide a more personalised experience, while LGBTQIA+-friendly clinics specialise in services for same-sex couples.
For those on a budget, low-cost clinics make treatments more accessible. Holistic clinics offer a well-rounded approach, incorporating services like acupuncture and nutritional counselling. Regional clinics serve those outside major cities, and some clinics focus on culturally sensitive care for Indigenous Australians. Understanding these options can help you choose a clinic that meets your needs and circumstances.
Fertility specialist advice
Now for some people, that would sound like the perfect experience: I don’t want to think about this; I’m not educated in this area and, you’re right, I have paid a lot of money for your opinion – please tell me what to do!
Others (and my client) might be horrified by this and feel entitled to ask whatever questions they need to understand their treatment as a patient.
A fertility specialist will involve you every step of the way. Some will be quick and superficial. They will always run late and be in a hurry, while others will be always on time, but only give you exactly your allotted time – no more, no less.
Some are really into research and are excited to try new things just in case, while others prefer to stick with methods that have been tried, tested, and proven to help. Some are expressive and likely to offer a hug if that seems to be needed, and others might sit on the other side of a desk and appear to be more interested in their computer screen than you.
Gynaecologist & fertility treatment
As a gynaecologist, you cannot do any fertility treatment that involves investigating or preparing sperm and eggs without being linked to a fertility clinic (embryologists do all of that stuff, and IVF clinics employ them) but lots of fertility doctors who are linked with fertility clinics also have private gynaecology practices and do lots of gynaecology work as well as their fertility work. Some even do obstetrics as well!
There are pluses and minuses to each of these traits, and some of them come down to preference: do you mind if your fertility specialist’s waiting rooms are full of pregnant bellies? What if they get called out to deliver a baby? And what about all these new, untested things – do you need to research them yourself to decide whether you want them? How will you know when hundreds of scientists worldwide cannot agree? And what about if your doctor suspects you might have endometriosis – wouldn’t you be best with a doctor trained in advanced laparoscopic surgery? There are so many questions!
So, you’ve got a list of fertility specialists, and they all sound amazing on paper. But let’s dig a bit deeper. In Australia, a fertility specialist usually starts as an obstetrician and gynaecologist. But the ones you might want to give a second look are those who’ve done extra training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It’s not just a bunch of extra letters after their name; it’s a sign that they’ve got specialised skills.
Those extra qualifications mean they’ve got the know-how to navigate the intricate world of fertility, which, let’s face it, can be as complex as any high-performance engine. So, when you’re scrolling through reviews and websites, pay attention to those credentials. They could make all the difference in your journey.
Fertility doctor questions left unanswered.
I met with someone in a social situation last year who told me about her struggles with fertility. Her story was one I hear often:
“We were referred to Dr X, but we don’t really know what’s going on or what the tests that she’s doing mean.”
She even told me she had left Dr X’s room in tears, feeling like her questions were not answered, and Dr X didn’t understand…
Dr X could be any fertility doctor, and this girl could be one of your friends. I talked to her for 10 minutes and guided her to a Fertility Specialist she is more likely to connect with. She has made an appointment already – I’m confident she will have a better time with the new doctor – we don’t all get along with everyone!
Even if the pathway to being a mum (or maybe a mum again) is a long one or paved with what sometimes feels like broken glass, having someone walking beside you and supporting you along the way can make all the difference – not only to the journey but to the outcome as well!
Fertility Specialist Questions
So here are five questions to ask yourself (and anyone advising you who to see):
1. Do I want a male or female fertility specialist?
2. Do I want my fertility specialist to have other areas of specialisation as well? (obstetrics, for example)
3. Can I travel to see my fertility specialist? Does it matter where they consult? (city, suburbs)
4. Would I prefer a fertility specialist who tries new things all the time – even if they are not yet ‘proven’ by the scientific research
5. Would I prefer a ‘touchy-feely’ type? Or a more ‘straight up and to the point’ type?
Then, of course, there is the big one: how quickly do I want to go to IVF? Might you feel rushed if your doctor suggests you start IVF next month? Do you just want to get into it? Or investigate other options first?
Journey to parenthood
At Fertility2Family, we recognise that the road to having a child is laden with aspirations, expectations, and sometimes obstacles. That’s why we’re dedicated to offering dependable, scientifically-backed guidance at each stage of your experience. From clearing up the complexities of fertility to aiding you in selecting the most suitable specialist, we strive to be your go-to source of reliable information. Each of our articles is rigorously examined and crafted to address your queries, ease your worries, and assist you in making well-informed choices. With Fertility2Family by your side, you’re never isolated in your pursuit to start a family. Count on us to equip you with the essential insights and encouragement you require for this transformative life event.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.