September 23, 2014
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Fertility

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What's stopping you?

You've been trying to get pregnant for a while now, but those home tests keep coming up negative. And yet you haven't been to see a doctor to find out what's preventing a positive result. What's stopping you?

Obstacle: You think you haven't been trying long enough to get pregnant
Do you keep telling yourself, "Maybe this month it'll happen?" Are months and months of your calendar covered with happy faces on ovulation days and sad faces marking the day your period came … again? Some couples will go on trying to get pregnant despite difficulties, figuring maybe the time just hasn't been right. But some couples keep trying unsuccessfully for longer than they need to.

Overcome it: Know that it's a matter of time
Infertility is defined as being unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse if a woman is under age 35 and after 6 months if a woman is 35 or older. If you've been trying for longer than that, you might benefit from some help. Also, there may be underlying medical issues that you're not yet aware of that could be affecting your fertility.

Obstacle: You're not sure where to start
Should you see your family doctor or an OB/GYN? Is there a difference between a fertility specialist and a reproductive endocrinologist? Can you just waltz right into a fertility clinic and start asking questions? Is the infertility happening because of the man or the woman - or both? What in the world are OI, ART, ISCI, and PGD?

Overcome it: Take the first "baby" steps
The world of fertility treatments can get a little complicated at times, so it's normal to be confused. Online resources are available, such as guides and glossaries explaining fertility and conception lingo. You can even plan ahead by creating a list of the types of questions you might want to ask once you're face to face with a specialist. A knowledgeable doctor or fertility specialist will be able to break it all down for you and help you plan your next steps.

Obstacle: You're afraid of what you'll find out
Many couples may put off the decision to see a doctor because they're fearful of finding out that they are infertile. The saying "Ignorance is bliss" comes to mind. For some people, not knowing their true fertility status is preferable to facing the facts.

Overcome it: Realize that knowing is half the battle
Both women and men can experience infertility for a number of reasons. Some reasons are biological or genetic, while others have to do with lifestyle choices a person makes. While it can be emotionally difficult to face what can be cold, hard facts, the truth can free you to make plans, take action, and get that much closer to realizing your goal of becoming a parent.

Obstacle: You're anxious about the procedures and treatments
For many, the thought of getting any kind of medical treatment - taking medications, getting shots, undergoing surgical procedures - can trigger nervousness and panic. When it comes to our reproductive organs, our most intimate body parts, the idea can be quite daunting. Will I be injected? Poked? Cut open?

Overcome it: Get a better picture of the possibilities
If you're not familiar with fertility treatments, your imagination can run wild and be much more upsetting than reality. That reality is that 85% to 90% of cases of infertility are treated with conventional therapies, that is, by drug treatment or surgical repair of reproductive organs. Only about 5% of infertile couples actually use in-vitro fertilization.

Obstacle: You're worried about the costs involved
Does the very thought of "health care costs" turn your stomach? When you hear the words "fertility treatment," do you also hear "cha-ching"? On one hand, most provincial health care systems usually do not cover fertility medical procedures. On the other hand, private medical insurance may cover some or all of what is needed. But what if you need more help covering the costs?

Overcome it: Narrow the GAP
Some provincial health plans may cover the cost of certain treatments for certain causes of infertility. Tax credits are also offered through the federal government and some provincial governments. If you're looking for more assistance, the GAP Program may be an option. Participating fertility clinics provide financial assistance to those who qualify for medications associated with fertility treatment. Speak to a fertility specialist to find out whether you would be eligible for this type of assistance. Or you can access the GAP Program by using the clinic locator to find a participating fertility clinic in your area.

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