When in Doubt About Your Fertility, Don’t Wait.
Despite the popular adage, age isn’t just a number when it comes to fertility. That’s because one key pursuit still hinges largely on age: having a baby.
Like it or not, age is the top cause of infertility, a difficult and frustrating challenge faced by 10% to 15% of couples trying to conceive. To better understand the treatment options for infertility, we recently spent time with Dr. Armando Hernandez-Rey, a double Board-Certified reproductive endocrinologist based in South Florida and recognized Top Doctor in the field. His expertise, based on more than a dozen years in practice, offers a clear path forward for those hoping for a new bundle of joy.
“Some people are completely oblivious to the impact of aging on fertility, for both women and men,” Dr. Hernandez-Rey explains. “But when it comes to infertility, time is not on our side. I always tell my patients that when it comes to infertility and treatment, yesterday was better than today, and today is better than tomorrow.”
“People struggle with the thought of needing help to conceive when friends seemingly all around them are having babies without any difficulty whatsoever,” he adds. “It’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Here’s the reality: As women get older, their reserve of healthy and abundant eggs continues to decline, making the likelihood of conceiving naturally less and less.
Here’s the reality: As women get older, their reserve of healthy and abundant eggs continues to decline, making the likelihood of conceiving naturally less and less. But early diagnosis and intervention offers patients a wider selection of treatment options and a higher success rate.
When patients seek treatment for infertility, they’re often hoping for an instant explanation why they can’t conceive naturally. But each person’s situation is as individual as they are, and their infertility may stem from a combination of causes, Dr. Hernandez-Rey says.
“For some, it could just be a timing issue, and for others it can be an in-depth cellular malfunction,” he adds. Diagnosing the cause of infertility and identifying the treatment that offers a path forward typically involves a series of in-office tests.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that IVF (in vitro fertilization), in which eggs are fertilized outside the body and implanted in the uterus, is the only treatment option to fix infertility issues, Dr. Hernandez-Rey notes. In actuality, an array of different – and often less invasive – treatments are possible depending on the cause of infertility. Among others, these include medications to help stimulate ovulation; intrauterine insemination (IUI), which places sperm inside the uterus to facilitate fertilization; or surgery to unblock the fallopian tubes or remove fibroids in the uterus.
Additionally, freezing eggs or sperm can preserve fertility for those who want to postpone pregnancy. And while results can’t be guaranteed, of course, a reputable, board-certified infertility specialist – preferably someone who comes well-recommended by friends or family members – can help spell success.
“I feel my role is a like co-pilot,” Dr. Hernandez-Rey says. “Providing patients with treatment options gives them back a sense of control that up until this point they’ve been without. Patients and couples place so much importance on having a child, and being able to help give them that gift and see the gratitude is truly inspiring.”