Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should I see a doctor about infertility?
You should consider having a fertility consultation and evaluation if:
- You have been unable to conceive after six months to one year of unprotected intercourse
- You are older than 35 and have been unable to conceive after six months of unprotected intercourse
What causes infertility?
Common causes of female infertility include:
- Ovulation disorders
- Abnormalities in the uterus, cervix or fallopian tubes
- Hormonal disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Cancer and other medical conditions
What should I expect at my first appointment?
During your initial visit, one of our reproductive endocrinology specialists will meet with you to begin gathering the information needed to diagnose and treat your infertility.
Your consultation and evaluation will include:
- a detailed medical history
- a physical exam
- lab tests
- a 3D ultrasound to evaluate your uterus and ovaries
- a referral for an X-ray to check for blockage in your fallopian tubes
- a referral for a semen analysis if a male spouse or partner is involved
After evaluating your results, your specialist will visit with you to discuss your diagnosis, treatment options, and a plan of care that optimizes your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Does the Family Fertility Center treat male factor infertility?
Yes, we offer evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of male infertility, all conducted in highly private settings dedicated solely to male reproductive health testing. Services include sperm analysis at our state-of-the-art andrology lab, and testicular biopsies in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine’s Scott Department of Urology to further evaluate sperm function and production. Baylor College of Medicine ranks among the highest percentage of male factor assisted reproduction cases in the nation.
Does my spouse or partner need to come with me for the first appointment?
No, your spouse or partner does not need to be at the initial visit, but they are welcome to join you.
What type of doctor will I see?
You will be treated by one of our reproductive endocrinologists from the department of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) at Baylor College of Medicine. These physicians are board-certified OB/GYNs with special training in evaluating and treating infertility in women and men.
What is AMH or “ovarian reserve” testing?
An AMH test is a blood test to measure a woman’s anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) level. Your AMH level is an indicator of your remaining supply of eggs, known as your ovarian reserve.
What is an HSG test?
An HSG test, or hysterosalpingogram, is an X-ray performed by radiology to check for blockage in your fallopian tubes and view the condition of the uterus.
What is an ERA test?
An ERA is an endometrial receptivity array, a genetic test to help women with a history of implantation failure during IVF determine the best window of time for implantation. The test involves taking a sample of the woman’s endometrial tissue at a specific time to evaluate the receptiveness of the uterus to an implanted embryo.
What is a semen (sperm) analysis?
A semen analysis is a test to assess the quantity and quality of a man’s sperm, including semen volume, sperm concentration, motility and sperm motion.
What treatment options do you offer for infertility?
We offer a full range of fertility treatments and services, using the most advanced techniques and technologies available today, including: <link to detailed page for each>
- Ovulation induction – using medications to stimulate the ovary to produce and release eggs, increasing your chances of conception
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – a non-surgical assisted reproductive technique, also known as artificial insemination
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) – a multi-step procedure used to bring eggs and sperm together outside the woman’s body for fertilization and implant the embryos (fertilized eggs) into the woman’s uterus
- Sperm retrieval and injection procedures – including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), testicular epididymal sperm extraction (TESE) and microepididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)
- Reproductive surgery – when needed, using the latest, safest, minimally invasive techniques
- Reproductive genetics – including preconception counseling and screening, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
- Fertility preservation – for the best possible chance of pregnancy following cancer treatment or other events that may affect future fertility. Services include sperm cryopreservation (freezing), egg or “oocyte” cryopreservation, and embryo cryopreservation (freezing of a fertilized egg)
- Donor assisted and third-party reproduction – including IVF procedures using donor eggs, donor sperm or donor embryos, as well as gestational surrogacy services
What are PGS (PGT-A) and PGD (PGT-M)?
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are reproductive genetic services to help increase your chances of a successful pregnancy, identify genetic risk factors, and enable you to make the most informed decisions as you build your family.
- Preimplantation genetic screening is used in the IVF process to determine whether embryos (fertilized eggs) have the correct number of chromosomes before being implanted in the uterus, for the best chance of pregnancy.
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is for patients with a known risk of passing on a genetic condition. During IVF, the fertilized eggs are tested for specific genetic disorders to identify the healthiest embryos for implantation.
What is an embryo biopsy?
An embryo biopsy is a technique performed during IVF to screen the health of an embryo before implantation. A small sample of cells is removed from the embryo and tested for genetic diseases or an abnormal number of chromosomes.
Does the Family Fertility Center have a donor sperm/donor egg program?
Yes, we’re helping patients achieve a successful pregnancy through access to a full range of donor-assisted reproduction services, including sperm donor, egg donor and embryo donor programs and treatments.
What fertility preservation options do you offer?
For patients facing cancer or other adverse events that may impact their future fertility, we offer several fertility preservation options to increase your chances of having a biological child in the future, including:
- Egg freezing (cryopreservation)
- Embryo freezing (cryopreservation of a fertilized egg)
- Sperm banking through our partnership with Baylor College of Medicine’s Scott Department of Urology
- Ovarian tissue freezing (experimental procedure used for cancer patients)
- Ovarian suppression (experimental treatment used for cancer patients)
Do you offer psychological counseling?
Yes, we partner with reproductive mental health professionals from The Women’s Place at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women to help our patients cope with the emotional turmoil and stress that often comes with an infertility diagnosis and treatment.
What are your success rates?
When comparing success rates among different fertility clinics, it’s important to keep in mind some clinics reject patients with a poorer chance for pregnancy, making their cumulative pregnancy rates higher than those that offer treatment to all patients. At the Family Fertility Center, we specialize in difficult-to-treat cases, often taking on patients rejected by other clinics.
Our IVF outcomes are also available through the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), in our Family Fertility Center – SART Clinic Summary Report, to help patients make informed decisions regarding their treatment options.
What is a “cycle” in fertility treatment?
A cycle is the period of time it takes to complete a round of fertility treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). A cycle is typically one month. When fertility centers report their volumes, they are referring to the number of cycles they do.
What is the difference between a fresh and frozen transfer?
A “fresh transfer” or “frozen transfer” refers to the embryo being transferred into the woman’s uterus during IVF treatment.
In a fresh transfer, everything happens in the same IVF cycle – the woman’s ovaries are stimulated, the eggs are retrieved and fertilized, and the embryos that develop are placed in the woman’s uterus a few days later.
In a frozen embryo transfer (FET), the embryos being transferred are from a previous IVF cycle, where they were cryopreserved (frozen) and stored for future use. When you are ready to use them, the frozen embryos are thawed and transferred into the woman’s uterus.
What is a chemical pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy is a pregnancy detected very early on by “chemical” means – a blood or urine test – but it doesn’t progress any further, resulting in an early miscarriage. A chemical pregnancy is not detected on ultrasound. It happens so early many women may not know it has occurred. Chemical pregnancies are very common.
The pregnancy test detects a brief spike in a pregnancy hormone known as hCG that increases when an embryo attaches to the uterine lining, leading to the positive result. When the embryo fails to implant properly in the uterus, a miscarriage occurs and the woman experiences her regular period about a week later.
What is a clinical pregnancy?
A clinical pregnancy is a pregnancy confirmed by ultrasound.
When reporting outcomes, fertility centers typically report both chemical <create link to previous question> and clinical pregnancy rates.
Can I stay at the Pavilion for Women for my pregnancy and delivery?
Yes, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women is here to provide the full continuum of care for women, from preconception to prenatal care and delivery to neonatal and pediatric care for your baby, expertly meeting all of your needs in a single location.
What lifestyle changes should I make to improve my chance of a successful pregnancy?
Talk with your OB/GYN or reproductive endocrinologist about specific lifestyle changes you can make to optimize your ability to conceive and prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy and baby. In general, women should:
- Start a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid, to minimize the risk of neural tube defects
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and any illegal drug use
- Limit your caffeine intake to 200-300 mg per day
- Review your current medications with your physician team, including prescription medications, over-the-counter products and herbal medicines, and make changes as needed
- Eat a healthy diet. Our registered dieticians can provide nutrition counseling, including foods to avoid.
- Exercise regularly, consulting with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen
Can I do acupuncture while undergoing fertility treatment?
While there is no scientific evidence that acupuncture increases your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy, we understand some women find it can decrease the anxiety and stress that comes with an infertility diagnosis and treatment. Before getting started, we recommend you visit with your reproductive endocrinologist to avoid any possible risks.