Infertility is still, unfortunately, stigmatized. Coupled with lack of access to care, Tamron and Dr. Thompson stressed the need for women to continue to advocate for women’s health care and to voice their concern to their policy makers.
The times are changing, slowly. More and more states are mandating fertility coverage. “As of June 2022, 20 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, 14 of those laws include IVF coverage, and 12 states have fertility preservation laws for iatrogenic (medically-induced) infertility.”1
Infertility is medically defined as the “difficulty to conceive” and its diagnosis varies based upon your age. If you are under 35 years old, you may receive an infertility diagnosis if you have not become pregnant after 12 months of trying and over 35 years of age – this decreases to around 6 months. There are many other factors that can play a part in an infertility diagnosis, so always best to contact your doctor and consult a fertility specialist.
There are some tips that may help you take control of your fertility that Dr. Thompson eloquently outlined during the show. She broke it all down succinctly in 3 points – by your age bracket.
If You Are In Your 20s
- Get to know your body:
Pay attention to your cycles. What may seem normal to you – may not be normal at all. For instance, heavy periods and debilitating pain while you have your period may be symptoms of conditions like endometriosis, which can impact your future fertility.
- Be your own advocate:
There are no dumb questions and answers empower you with information.
Discuss with your OBGYN the best contraception for you but just know that contraception does not lead to future infertility.
If You Are In Your 30s
- Consider fertility preservation – Egg Freezing:
If you believe you may want a family in your future but are not ready now – contemplate Egg Freezing. Unfortunately, the quantity & quantity of your eggs diminish as you age – but a frozen egg never ages. Egg Freezing is an excellent way to secure your future fertility and many employers and insurance companies now include egg freezing in their policies.
- Optimize natural conception:
Incorporating a healthy lifestyle including diet, weight management, limiting alcohol use, abstaining from smoking and other drug use, including marijuana, and exercising regularly can all positively impact your fertility.
- Avoid Comparison:
You are uniquely you. Don’t get trapped in the comparison game. Just because your bestie got pregnant without really trying doesn’t mean that will be your journey. And just because you aren’t pregnant yet, doesn’t mean you are infertile. Talk to your doctors – they should be your ambassadors.
If You Are In Your 40s
- Talk to a Fertility Specialist:
If you haven’t conceived after trying naturally for 3 to 6 months, it is time to visit a fertility specialist. As REI’s, we have more specific tests that we perform to check your fertility status.
- Recognize hormone and body changes:
Have your periods changed? Are they heavier or lighter? Any other changes hormonally that have impacted your mood, weight, sleep patterns? Hormonal changes can affect your chances to conceive. Be mindful and tuned into your body.
- Be aware of all your options:
There are many, many ways to have the family you deserve. It’s important to know you have options. We have many featured here on our website from IVF to IUI, to egg & sperm donation to gestational carriers. Reproductive science is advancing at lightning speed.
So, take control of your fertility. Be empowered by options and information. Don’t be shy to advocate for yourself and know there is help out there, and here at IRMS, if you need it.
If you have questions and concerns about your fertility status and wish a consult with Dr. Thompson or one of our other highly experienced specialists, please reach out. We have multiple locations in New Jersey and New York and offer both telemedicine and in-office appointments for your convenience. You can reach us by visiting our website or by calling 973.548.9900.
1 Insurance Coverage by State resolve.org/learn/financial-resources-for-family-building/insurance-coverage/insurance-coverage-by-state/
Stephanie M. Thompson, MD, is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist at The Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS). She is an attending physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, and Board Certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.