If you and your partner are unable to conceive, you may feel confused and frustrated. Although infertility is a common issue, you still deserve to know why you have been unsuccessful. Eventually, it may be time to seek help from a fertility doctor.
At Vios Fertility Institute in Hoffman Estates or at one of our other locations, you can always count on our team of experienced doctors. We go the extra mile to understand your fertility health, and we provide you with a variety of treatment and testing options to help you conceive a baby.
Let’s Talk About Fertility and Ovulation
Fertility is the ability of a woman to conceive and bear children through normal sexual activity. Ovulation, on the other hand, refers to the actual day in a woman’s menstrual cycle when pregnancy is possible and occurs when hormone changes trigger an ovary to release an egg. A woman’s fertile window varies but is usually the day an egg released from the ovary (ovulation) and the five days beforehand.
According to the National Center of Health Statistics, about 12% of women have trouble getting or staying pregnant. If you are unsure about your ability to conceive, the following can provide insight into your fertility health:
- Your age – Unfortunately, a woman’s fertility decreases with age. Women under the age of 35 are at their peak fertility. At the age of 35, your fertility begins to decline steadily and ends with menopause.
- Healthy lifestyle – By eating a healthy diet, exercising, lowering stress, limiting alcohol intake, and refusing to smoke, you can improve your fertility.
- Healthy weight – A low body mass index (BMI) causes ovulation to stop as the body tries to conserve energy. A high BMI disrupts hormone levels. Insulin resistance can inhibit ovulation and affect egg quality, as well as embryo and fetus development. A healthy BMI ranges from 20-24.
- Pelvic pain – Long, heavy, painful periods or pelvic pain are potential signs of fibroids or endometriosis, which affects your ability to conceive. Pelvic trauma or past surgeries can also affect fertility.
- Regular menstrual cycles – Regular menstrual cycles show hormones are in sync and that you are ovulating. If you are unsure about your cycle, consider using period tracker or fertility calendar apps like Glow, DuoFertility, or Clue.
- Unchecked STDs – Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a byproduct of specific STDs, can damage your reproductive organs and decrease infertility. To increase your fertility health, practice safe sex, and use protection. If you think you have an STD, consult your doctor immediately.
What is a Fertility Doctor?
A fertility doctor is a reproductive endocrinologist, or a physician who practices a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology called reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI). They complete at least two years of training beyond their OB-GYN residency and specialize in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproduction in men and women.
When Should You Seek Help from a Fertility Doctor?
If you’re unable to get pregnant after months of trying, you may want to consult a fertility doctor immediately. However, just as every individual is unique, the same is true of their fertility.
Before you seek help from a fertility clinic, there are specific factors you should consider:
- You’re under 35 – If you are under 35, have been actively trying to conceive, and have not been using birth control for 12 months or more, you should make an appointment with a fertility doctor.
- You’re over 35 – If you are over 35, you should only wait six months to call a fertility doctor. After 35, a woman’s fertility begins to decline until she reaches menopause.
- You’re over 40 – If you are over the age of 40, you should see a doctor immediately. By the age of 40, a woman’s eggs drop in quality and quantity, which decreases the chance of conception and increases the risk for miscarriage.
- Your BMI is high or low – If you have a high or low BMI, you should see a doctor before you start trying. By talking to your doctor and achieving a better BMI, you are more likely to conceive naturally.
- You have a thyroid condition – If you have a thyroid disorder, you should see a doctor right away. A thyroid disorder (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) can interrupt the ovulation process, resulting in irregular or missed periods. Normal thyroid hormone levels are required for a perm production. Through a medical evaluation, thyroid levels can be assessed and treated.
- You have an infertility diagnosis – If you have a known reproductive issue such as PCOS or POI, you should see a doctor immediately.
- You have experienced miscarriages – If you suffer from multiple miscarriages in a row, you should visit a doctor immediately. A single miscarriage is common, but repeated miscarriages are not.
Our Team of Fertility Doctors at Vios Hoffman Estates
At Vios in Hoffman Estates or at one of our other locations, our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialists understand the challenges of infertility. We strive to provide a customized fertility plan to suit the emotional, physical, and financial needs of every patient.
Kara Ehlers, MD, FACOG
Kara Ehlers, MD, FACOG received her medical degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern, one of the busieset OB/Gyn programs in the county. She completed her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University of Louisville School of Medicine. Louisville’s REI program is the oldest continually running fellowship program in the country and has the highest cumulative live birth rate in the state of Kentucky.
As a researcher, author and presenter, Dr. Ehlers is renowned for her work in the area of polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis and treatment. In addition, she has authored several scientific publications focused on women’s health and infertility.
Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG
Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG, provides compassionate care to patients in our Hoffman Estates and Wicker Park offices. As a highly skilled reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jeelani has a special interest in onco-fertility, the impact of toxins on reproductive function, chemotherapy and oocyte cryopreservation.
Dr. Jeelani is a graduate of Ross University School of Medicine. She completed both her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University-Detroit Medical Center. During her medical training, she received numerous awards in the areas of fetal medicine and reproductive medicine, including the Excellence in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Award from Wayne State.
In addition, she has authored a variety of publications and book chapters in journals highlighting cutting-edge REI advancements, from preimplantation genetic diagnosis to enhanced embryo transfer. She has also presented at national and international conferences and symposiums focused on advancements in women’s health.
To learn more about our team of fertility specialists, visit our Meet the Providers page.
At Vios Fertility Institute Hoffman Estates Conception is Our Life
At Vios Fertility Institute Hoffman Estates, our team of compassionate, caring physicians provide excellence in fertility care. We understand the unique needs of every patient, which is why we go the extra mile to make your dreams of parenthood a reality.
While we have other locations in Northern Illinois, Vios Hoffman Estates is most convenient to Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Northbrook, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Mount Prospect.
While every patient is different, your initial consultation will include bloodwork, an ultrasound to measure eggs, and a semen analysis. You will also discuss treatment options with your fertility doctor. After you choose a treatment, your fertility journey will begin.
To schedule a consultation and take control of your fertility health, contact us today.