How to Prepare for Your First Visit with an Infertility Specialist
Dr. Bana Kashani Offers Her Expert Insights in Honor of National Infertility Awareness Week 2023
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., May 01, 2023--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW, April 23-29), Bana Kashani, M.D., OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, joined First Response™ and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in an Instagram Live as part of their social media campaign to encourage critical conversations and provide resources to empower the infertility community in honor of this year’s NIAW theme, #FindYourVoice. Dr. Kashani offered insights into making the leap from a general OB-GYN to an infertility specialist, knowing when to seek treatment and how to prepare for your first visit.
"I'm proud to join First Response and RESOLVE and am thankful for the platform they’ve created to raise awareness for infertility issues that so many face," says Kashani. "Talking about these topics and eliminating the stigma around seeking treatment is so important. As a provider, we know it’s difficult to seek help, but what we hope people realize is that once they do, they will have a lot more answers, options and potential solutions."
Dr. Kashani answered the following questions during the Instagram Live.
What is the difference between an OB-GYN and an infertility specialist?
Reproductive endocrinologists and infertility specialists, or REIs, are OB-GYNs that found a passion in helping women and couples with infertility start or grow their families. REIs undergo specialized training after their OB-GYN residency for diagnosing infertility conditions and delving into possible treatment options to optimize a patient’s fertility. We focus on women with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss or anything that might require them to undergo fertility treatments.
When should someone consider seeking out an infertility specialist?
Everyone's reason for seeing an infertility specialist is different. By basic definition, if you are over the age of 35 and you've been trying for more than six months, its likely there's infertility and you should seek help. If you're under the age of 35, and you've been trying for 12 months or more, then you should seek services with an infertility specialist. I also tell everyone how important it is to trust your intuition. If you're simply curious about your body, you can still seek services and consults.
What are some other reasons why one may consider consulting with an infertility specialist?
Other reasons could be previous diagnoses, such as cancers or surgeries for either partner, or if women are experiencing irregular menstrual cycles. These are all concerns and questions to bring up to your OB-GYN as well, but again, there’s nothing wrong with seeing a fertility provider before the recommended six-month or 12-month mark.
How can one prepare for their first visit with an infertility specialist?
There are three things I tell my patients to do ahead of their first session. First, come with a lot of information to describe your menstrual cycles. Really think about your cycles as you've been trying to get pregnant or even if you aren’t trying and you're just curious about your body. The length of your cycles, the heaviness of your flow, pain level now compared to on birth control – all this information is so useful and reliable to tell us about your hormones. The more information you provide your doctor, the better they're going to be able to delve into your specific scenario to better understand your diagnosis, as well as treatment options, including what testing they can order.
Second, it’s important to evaluate your goals. Some people are content with having one child, and others may want to try for three or four children. Those are the things that you want to bring up to your provider because it makes a difference in potential treatment options. In addition, consider what treatments you would be uncomfortable with based on ethical or religious reasons. If you want to do whatever you can to get pregnant naturally, your provider can help you understand things that can optimize your natural fertility. Our aim as providers is to find something that's going to work for you and your goals.
Third, bring a list of questions to your visit. It’s easy for people to Google infertility, but your provider will be able to provide you with information for your specific case. Know that there are no stupid questions, and that we’re here to help you out. We don’t want you to walk away from your visit with more questions than answers. The purpose of the visit is to really get some resolutions and answers and have a plan of action from that point forward.
While doing research is important and beneficial, how can one filter themselves when doing research on infertility? Can too much research be harmful?
I always say knowledge is power, so it’s important to do your research but also be aware of legitimate sources of information versus potentially inaccurate information, or more anecdotal resources like forums. I recommend seeking out websites like RESOLVE.org and looking into various studies and research articles on infertility. Then use your provider as the filter for information. We can help distinguish the accurate from inaccurate, and further explain the information. That's why we're here.
How can one stay positive during their infertility journey?
This is where some of those forums or anecdotal advice is really powerful. Hearing other peoples’ stories can be so helpful and empowering. Even when the chances of success are not high, I want my patients to see that success has happened for other people and that you could be part of that lower percent in your scenario. Also, what’s just as important is understanding that if something doesn't work, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the journey. There are always options and paths to reexplore. Lastly, it is important that you connect with your provider, they understand your goals, and remain a source of encouragement throughout your journey.
Visit www.resolve.org/firstresponse to access resources and learn more about finding support along your infertility journey.
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