Fertility questions answered
BY MARY BETH SCHWEIGERT, Staff Writer
Dr. Michael Sobel and registered nurse Robin Rohrer of Lancaster Fertility answer common questions about infertility.
What do fertility specialists do?
We concentrate on diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the female reproductive tract. We screen both men and women for fertility problems, but if men need treatment, we might refer them to a urologist.
In addition to infertility, we treat endometriosis, miscarriage, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, irregular bleeding and hormonal imbalances.
How common is infertility?
About 10-15 percent of couples will have trouble conceiving.
Is infertility more often related to difficulties with the male or female partner?
It's actually about equal. Male infertility is more common than many people realize. Sometimes both partners have fertility problems.
How is age related to infertility?
Fertility declines with age, and more couples are putting off having a family. Media coverage of celebrities gives some patients unrealistic expectations. It's tough when they see a star having a baby at 47.
When should I seek help?
Women with regular menstrual cycles who have been trying to conceive for a year should see their doctor. Women age 35 or older should make an appointment after six months. Start with your regular OB/GYN, who may refer you to a specialist.
Younger women who have irregular cycles might consider a consultation for educational purposes.
What infertility treatments are available?
Treatment can be simple or complex, depending on the couple's age and diagnosis.
We may prescribe ovulation-inducing drugs or perform intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. Some couples might require donor egg or sperm, third-party surrogacy or genetic counseling.
Will my insurance cover infertility treatments?
It varies by employer and insurance company. Coverage for IVF is not mandated in Pennsylvania.
Our practice and some others will work with you to determine what your insurance will cover before you start testing and treatment.
Some practices offer a "shared risk" program for patients who meet certain criteria. Some or all of their money may be refunded if they do not successfully deliver a baby.
What misconceptions exist about infertility treatment?
Some people think we specifically try for multiple pregnancies. But we follow guidelines to reduce the chance of multiples, which come with higher risks.
Our goal is a single healthy baby.