According to a recent patient survey conducted by a leading nationwide fertility clinic, after first experiencing problems conceiving, nearly 30 percent of fertility patients waited two or more years before seeking out help from a fertility specialist. Released November 16, 2010, the survey of 7,200 men and women also revealed that nearly two-thirds of fertility patients self-diagnosed their fertility issues, while only about one-third was diagnosed by a healthcare professional. And of those surveyed who did not go through fertility treatment, two-thirds cited their decision not to seek treatment was based on an assumption that the cost of fertility treatment would be prohibitive.
"What the study shows us is the tremendous need for fertility education," says Maureen Gill Higgins, RN, MSN, WHNP, and director of Clinical Operations at Attain Fertility Centers, the clinic that conducted the survey. "A significant percentage of patients are waiting too long to see a specialist. We don't want anyone to wait two years or more. The sooner a fertility specialist finds and addresses any problems, the faster a patient can move along the path to becoming a parent. It's all about early intervention."
How do you know when it's time to seek help for fertility issues? It's a good idea to meet with your healthcare provider for a general preconception checkup to discuss any health issues that could affect your chances for becoming pregnant. The clinical definition of infertility is a person under the age of 35 who has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant for more than 12 months; or a person 35 or older who has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant for more than six months.