For couples struggling to start or expand their family, seeking fertility treatment can be a life-changing decision. When is the right time to seek a specialist, and what treatment is best?
Dr. Amos Madanes, director of the Midwest Fertility Center in Downers Grove, has been helping couples overcome infertility problems since 1979. Certified as an reproductive endocrinologist by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Madanes received his medical degree from Tel Aviv University in Israel, specialty training in obstetrics and gynecology at Boston’s Tufts University, followed by two years of advanced training in reproductive endocrinology, including a fellowship, at Harvard University School of Medicine.
Madanes offers his expert answers to six frequently asked questions.
Q: If infertility is suspected, when should someone seek help? A: Generally, if a woman is over 35 and has been trying for six months to become pregnant without success, she should look for help. For a woman under 35, it can be up to a year, unless there are known problems such as irregular periods or ovulation that would prevent her from becoming pregnant on her own. If you suspect you are infertile, then you should seek help right away.
Q: What should I look for in a fertility center and specialist? A: There are three sub-specialties in gynecology; oncology, high-risk pregnancy and reproductive endrocrinology and infertility. Just as you wouldn’t see a general gynecologist if you had cancer, you wouldn’t see one for fertility treatments. When choosing a specialist, make sure that the doctor is Board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, not just in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Q: Do all centers offer the same treatments? A: Most reproductive endocrinology centers offer the same treatments. Some of the most common treatments are IVF, surgical correction of fertility problems, induction of ovulation with interuterine insemination, but again, be sure that the doctors at the center are board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
Q: How do I know what treatment is best? A: The best treatment depends on the cause of infertility. A proper center does at least a month of evaluation on both the woman and the man. The best treatments are tailored for the patient.
Q: Do centers offer rates of success and how do I interpret them? These can be difficult to interpret because some infertility centers may not take older women, or certain conditions. I believe that it’s up to the doctor to tell a patient what the chances are for a woman of her age or situation. A good center offers a fair assessment and lets the patient decide. A: Are fertility treatments covered by insurance? Illinois has a mandate that it be covered, but there are many exceptions so for many, it’s like not having coverage at all. Some insurance companies, like Blue Cross HMO-IL, offer excellent coverage, others can vary. It’s too early to know what kind of coverage will be available under the Affordable Care Act. Visit www.ivf.us to find more frequently asked questions, articles about infertility, the latest treatments, and more.