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What is fertility?

Fertility refers to the ability of an individual or a couple to conceive a child and carry the pregnancy to term successfully. It is influenced by various factors such as reproductive health, age, hormonal balance, and overall well-being.

How to check fertility?

There are several methods to check fertility in both men and women. Here are some common approaches:

  • Medical history review: A healthcare provider will discuss your medical history, including any previous pregnancies, menstrual cycles, and potential risk factors that may affect fertility.
  • Physical examination: A physical examination may be conducted to assess any visible signs or abnormalities that could impact fertility, such as hormonal imbalances or structural issues.
  • Hormone level testing: Blood tests can measure hormone levels, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones. These tests provide insights into the functioning of the reproductive system and can help identify any hormonal imbalances.
  • Ovulation tracking: Women can monitor their menstrual cycles and track ovulation using methods like tracking basal body temperature, monitoring cervical mucus changes, and using ovulation predictor kits. These methods help identify the timing of ovulation, which is crucial for successful conception.
  • Imaging tests: Transvaginal ultrasound scans can assess the health and structure of the reproductive organs in women, including the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. In men, ultrasound scans can evaluate the testicles and associated structures.
  • Semen analysis: Men can undergo a semen analysis to evaluate the quantity, quality, and motility of sperm. This test examines the sperm count, morphology (shape), and motility to assess male fertility.
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG): This test involves the injection of a contrast dye into the uterus, followed by an X-ray or ultrasound to evaluate the shape and patency of the uterus and fallopian tubes.

What should I expect during a fertility evaluation?

During a fertility evaluation, both partners will undergo medical assessments. This may include a comprehensive medical history review, physical examinations, hormone level testing, ultrasound scans, and diagnostic procedures like hysterosalpingography (HSG) for women and semen analysis for men. These evaluations help identify any underlying issues causing infertility and guide the appropriate treatment options.

How to increase fertility in women?

To increase fertility in women, it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, managing stress levels, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, tracking ovulation and having regular, timed intercourse can optimize the chances of conception.

How to increase male fertility?

To increase male fertility, similar lifestyle measures can be beneficial. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive heat exposure to the testicles (such as hot tubs or saunas), quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing stress can help improve sperm quality. It's also advisable to avoid tight underwear and reduce exposure to environmental toxins or chemicals that may affect sperm production.

How does PCOS affect fertility?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can impact fertility in women. PCOS may cause irregular or absent menstrual cycles, anovulation (lack of ovulation), and the development of multiple small cysts on the ovaries. These factors can make it more challenging to conceive naturally. However, with appropriate medical interventions, such as lifestyle changes, medication to induce ovulation, or assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, many women with PCOS can achieve successful pregnancies.

Can stress impact fertility?

Yes, chronic or excessive stress can have a negative impact on fertility. Stress can disrupt hormonal balance, affect ovulation in women, and reduce sperm production and quality in men. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, counseling, and support from loved ones can help improve fertility outcomes.

Can previous contraceptive use impact fertility?

In most cases, previous contraceptive use does not have a long-term impact on fertility. Once contraception is discontinued, fertility typically returns to its natural state within a few menstrual cycles. However, some forms of contraception, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or hormonal injections, may cause a temporary delay in fertility restoration. It's best to consult with a healthcare provider to discuss the specific contraceptive method and its potential impact on fertility.

How long does it typically take to conceive?

The time it takes to conceive can vary for each individual or couple. In general, most couples will conceive within one year of actively trying to conceive. However, factors like age, overall health, and any underlying fertility issues can influence the time it takes to achieve pregnancy.

Can fertility drugs cause cancer?

Current research does not show a link between fertility drugs or IVF and an increased cancer risk.

It's essential to understand that infertility itself may be a risk factor for certain cancers. Some studies have shown that women with infertility may have a slightly higher risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, possibly due to hormonal imbalances or underlying conditions affecting fertility. Therefore, it can be challenging to determine whether the fertility drugs themselves or the underlying infertility contribute to the increased risk.

It's important to weigh the potential risks and benefits of fertility treatments with the guidance of a healthcare provider or fertility specialist. They can provide personalized information and discuss any concerns specific to your medical history, family history, and individual circumstances. Regular monitoring and appropriate medical supervision during fertility treatment can help minimize any potential risks.