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Infertility Dream Team: The GYNO and the RE

By Tracey Minella

January 31st, 2011 at 12:00 am


You’ve heard the guidelines on how long you should be trying to conceive before you see a gynecologist for help. One year if you’re under 35. Six months if you’re over.

Sure, those guidelines are fine for the fertile world, because contrary to what we were all scared into thinking as hormone-crazed teens, it’s not that easy to get pregnant each month. Doctors don’t want stampedes of patients seeking testing after TTC for only one or two months. It is perfectly normal for it to take a few months.

But to a thirty-something (or older) woman who continues to ache for a baby, those guidelines are just a freakin waste of time. Precious time. Just suffer through the disappointment of 12 negative pregnancy tests and unwanted periods before investigating the reason? Seriously?  I know tons of desperate women who lied about how long they’d been TTC so they’d fit into the guidelines and not get sent home to try some more. Hell, I was one of them.

So, now that you’re there, how long do you give the GYNO to diagnose and solve your problem? Where are those guidelines?

How many tests, procedures or surgeries should you let the GYNO perform before switching over to the stirrups of a RE? Do you trust him enough to decide when to refer you to an RE? Are you sure that her heartfelt desire to get you pregnant, or her ego, won’t delay her referring you on for advanced treatment? Those are loaded questions.

I’m a firm believer in listening to that voice in your head. If there are factors, suspicions, or nagging fears about something in your medical or social history…and your heart is telling you that you’re going to need special help to have a baby…listen to it and get specialized help earlier. Especially if your age is a factor.

Here’s how I see it. If your face lost a battle with a windshield, would you want the ER doctor to sew your face back together, or would you want a plastic surgeon? Both doctors can close you up just fine. But only one is a specialist in making you look good. One has different talents, special training, knowledge and skills that the other doesn’t… all of which are designed to give you a better chance at the best possible outcome. And you have to face the mirror and live with the consequences of that decision for the rest of your life. It’s sorta the same thing with your fertility.

I’m not saying to by-pass the GYNO, just to keep the communication lines open about any concerns and expectations you have about the cost, pace and scope of your treatment. Consider your age. Also, keep your finances and emotional strength in mind when deciding how long to wait before moving on to an RE. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone. But sometimes it’s necessary.

Don’t wait to switch over until you and your partner are so emotionally and financially drained that you don’t have anything left to put into the more intense assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF, if it’s needed.

Remember, you won’t be leaving your beloved GYNO forever. The RE specializes in getting you pregnant. After that, you’re referred back to the specialist best equipped to monitor your pregnancy and deliver the baby you’ve worked so hard to conceive…your beloved OB.

When you have the best of both specialties…an Infertility Dream Team… and they each work their magic, there’s no telling what they, or you, can deliver.

Do you think you waited too long before seeing a gynecologist about your inability to conceive? Did you stay too long with the gynecologist before moving on to a reproductive endocrinologist? Do you have a story to share?

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