Frequently Asked Questions
Following are common questions about fertility and treatment options that many couples have.
The information on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content contained on this site is for general information purposes only. If you have a specific question about your care, please contact your physician.
- How common is infertility?
- How do I know if I have a problem?
- Does nutrition really make a difference?
- What is unexplained infertility and how do you treat it?
How common is infertility?
Though estimates depend on how questions are asked, generally 12-16 percent of couples, or roughly 1-in-7, will take more than a year to conceive. Part of why it is more common than many realize is that infertility is not just a "woman's problem."
When a cause can be identified, only 1/3 of the time is it purely due to female factors. Another 1/3 result solely from male factors and the remaining 1/3 has both male and female components. Because it is quite common for both partners to be affected, this is why it is important for a couple to be evaluated and treated as a whole.
At Generations Fertility Care, we offer a unique approach to fertility treatment with our Couples Clinic. This efficient, well-coordinated approach helps couples move forward more quickly and know what their next steps are.
How do I know if I have a problem?
A: Infertility is generally defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse. Because a woman has fewer eggs as she gets older, a woman over the age of 35 is frequently evaluated after a shorter period of time without conceiving (usually six months). Some women with known medical conditions are even assessed prior to attempting conception. These conditions include irregular periods, a history of ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis. The reason for more rapid evaluation is that, depending on the condition, spontaneous conception may be improbable or practically impossible.
All couples should see a health care provider prior to conception. Of course, this is not to say that one can't get pregnant without such a consult. However, there is a lot of evidence that being healthy before conceiving makes the pregnancy easier for both the mother and the baby. It even has a significant impact on the lifelong health of the baby. Your health care provider should be able to quickly identify a few ways you can fine tune your health so as to make a proper start on this important journey.
Does nutrition really make a difference?
Yes, but only to a point. Basics include making sure to get adequate folic acid, iron, and calcium, and to be careful to minimize risks for bacteria (especially Listeria and E. coli), mercury, and caffeine, and of course, avoiding alcohol and smoke (not only cigarette, but also grilled foods). Also, local, CSA, organic, and similar farming practices are wonderful, but keep in mind that some vegetables from these sources can be particularly high risk because of bacteria from natural fertilizer. Wash the produce well before enjoying them.
We also know that the quality of your food will affect pregnancy - for the same calories, mothers eating junk food will have babies with different fat distribution than those that eat more wholesome foods. However, this all is only to a point - women can frequently get pregnant and even deliver healthy babies under stressful conditions. If the quest for a "perfect diet" stresses you, peace of mind can be far more important for you and your baby's health.
What is unexplained infertility and how do you treat it?
Unexplained infertility is when an infertile couple has had a thorough workup but no cause for their infertility is identified. This can be understandably frustrating for couples as they want an explanation for their delay to conception. However, they should take reassurance in the fact that no major medical problems have been identified and therefore, with support, they are likely to successfully conceive.
Though the assertiveness of intervention depends on the age and goals of the couple, generally with unexplained infertility we perform a few (three to six) cycles of oral medication with intrauterine insemination, during which they hopefully conceive. While we especially hope they conceive on the first try, it is also quite normal for it to take a few cycles, so patients should not get discouraged if a few cycles become necessary.
- If I am a male patient seeking infertility care, is it important to have my female partner also meet with one of the female specialists?
If I am a male patient seeking infertility care, is it important to have my female partner also meet with one of the female specialists?
This will be an important question to consult with Dr. Dan Williams on during your office visits. Depending on the type of therapy recommended, your partner may or may not need to establish care with a female fertility specialist. Typically if your recommended therapies include insemination or in-vitro therapies, your female partner will need to establish care with either Dr. Christina Broadwell or Dr. Dan Lebovic.
General Clinic Information
- What distinguishes Generations Fertility Care from other clinics?
- Is your clinic open on weekends?
- If I am a current patient and a medical concern arises on the weekend how can I contact a nurse or physician?
What distinguishes Generations Fertility Care from other clinics?
The University of Wisconsin has a prestigious history for regional fertility care, including the first IVF birth in the state. The University is committed to living up to this strong reputation and has recruited top physicians from around the nation in order to continue this tradition.
In addition to outstanding gynecologic and fertility care for women, Generations Fertility Care offers comprehensive care for men as well through a urologist with fellowship training in male fertility.
Also, we know that infertility is not just physical, but also has significant psychological implications for many couples. We have a psychologist that specializes in fertility care.
Our whole team is committed not only to your success, but also your peace of mind - if there is anything we can do to help you on this journey, we want to know about it!
Is your clinic open on weekends?
Yes, our clinic is open on weekends. There is a nurse who is available to answer questions on the telephone from 7–11am and a physician in clinic to provide cycle dependent services (ultrasounds, inseminations, or IVF procedures).
If I am a current patient and a medical concern arises on the weekend how can I contact a nurse or physician?
A physician and a registered nurse are available to address your concerns on weekends and most holidays from 7-11am. If a medical concern arises outside of these hours you can reach an on-call physician by calling the clinic (608-824-6160) and being redirected through the UW Hospital paging operator.
What are Generations Fertility Care clinic's success rates?
Our success rates rank us as one of the most successful In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) programs in the United States.
- How do I schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist?
- What can I expect at my first appointment?
- Will I see my doctor each time I come in for an appointment?
- What should I expect at an ultrasound appointment?
How do I schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist?
Patients can arrange appointments at Generations Fertility Care through our online form or by calling (608) 824-6160 or (888) 474-3933.
We encourage you to check with your insurance provider prior to your appointment. Generally speaking, treatments for infertility are not covered by insurance in Wisconsin; however, because subfertility can relate to many medical conditions, sometimes the initial testing is covered.
For those that do have some form of insurance support for fertility care, a referral from their primary care physician or an OB/GYN is often required by insurance companies.Our financial counselor can help you navigate the maze of insurance benefits.
What can I expect at my first appointment?
The initial appointment frequently lasts one hour and addresses issues ranging from medical history to goals and a timeline for conception. Though treatment plans are discussed when possible, sometimes more testing is necessary first so as to determine the best therapy.
For several reasons, we strongly recommend that both members of a couple are present, especially for the first appointment. There are several reasons for this recommendation.
First, couples know a lot about each other, but sometimes it is easiest for a person to discuss his or her own health.
Second, we discuss a lot of information at these appointments and two can remember more than one.
Third, without realizing it, sometimes couples have different mental timelines and goals - having both partners there makes it easier to get everyone on the same page.
Finally, we aren't providing care for people abstractly. Getting to know both partners allows for more personalized, attentive care.
Will I see my doctor each time I come in for an appointment?
Although one of our doctors is in charge of your care, you will not see that person at each and every visit. Because our clinic operates seven days a week and you may have fairly frequent visits for treatment, you may see another doctor, or a nurse and ultrasonographer. However, you can always have questions directed to your doctor.
What should I expect at an ultrasound appointment?
Your ultrasound will be performed by our ultrasonographer (or a physician if your ultrasound day falls on a weekend). A registered nurse will accompany the ultrasonographer or physician. The ultrasound images will then be reviewed by the physician who will create your plan of care. The nurse will discuss the plan of care with you in detail and go over any teaching that may be needed at that time.
Emotional Aspects of Care
I'm feeling overwhelmed/depressed/stressed, what can I do?
First, you should know that you are not alone - in fact, this is completely normal. Up to 50 percent of couples with infertility have at least one person that deeply struggles with the emotional aspects of the situation.
Second, you can improve things through support. These approaches can range from talking with friends that have wrestled with fertility issues, to RESOLVE or other meetings, to meeting with our psychologist, Julianne Zweifel.
There are two good reasons for getting support - some studies show improved fertility outcomes through support and practically all studies show that you will feel better as a result, which is a reason in itself.
- Do I need to have ultrasound monitoring when taking medications?
- If I have an unsuccessful treatment cycle, is there any advantage or disadvantage to resuming treatment again immediately with my next cycle?
Do I need to have ultrasound monitoring when taking medications?
It is almost always recommended to have ultrasound monitoring when taking medications to produce mature eggs. Not only do we make sure that you are responding to the medication, but we also want to ensure that you have not over-responded. Although our goal is to achieve pregnancy, we also want to make sure that you have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
If I have an unsuccessful treatment cycle, is there any advantage or disadvantage to resuming treatment again immediately with my next cycle?
People want to take breaks from treatment for several different reasons. Sometimes a family vacation is planned during the time when visits are needed at the clinic. Sometimes finances play a role. Other times, one might just need a break from the emotional roller coaster of infertility. There are no advantages or disadvantages to taking a break from treatment or resuming treatment immediately after a negative pregnancy test.
- Is acupuncture OK during a treatment cycle?
- Are other types of alternative medicine OK during treatment cycles?
- Is it OK to take vitamins, herbs or supplements during fertility treatment?
Is acupuncture OK during a treatment cycle?
Acupuncture can serve as a complement to your fertility treatment although a true benefit has not been determined as yet. In fact, some studies have shown a worse outcome. Be sure to inform both Generations Fertility Care and the Acupuncturist of the treatments you are receiving. The acupuncture treatments are performed at an acupuncture facility, not at Generations.
Are other types of alternative medicine OK during treatment cycles?
Generations Fertility Care is open to discussing integrative medicine, combining alternative medicine with conventional medical treatment. Massage therapy and acupressure can complement your fertility treatment and improve your mental well-being. If there are other types of alternative medicine you are considering, please discuss with Generations. Again, there is no solid evidence of a benefit in success rates from such treatments.
Is it OK to take vitamins, herbs or supplements during fertility treatment?
Generations Fertility Care recommends you only take supplements, vitamins and herbs that are regulated by the FDA. Please ask Generations staff any specific questions to further investigate safety during pregnancy.
How much do treatments cost?
The cost of treatments can vary greatly depending upon the extent of medical intervention necessary. Our Financial Information page provides general estimates for the treatments we offer. Before undergoing any treatment at Generations Fertility Care, you will be provided with a detailed cost estimate.
Practically speaking, fertility therapy is like many things - you get what you pay for. Low tech interventions are appropriate for patients with minimal subfertility, but high tech approaches with very high success rates may be necessary for those with severe infertility.
For example, oral medications with intrauterine insemination can cost roughly $600-$700 depending on the patients' needs. Through treatment, a couple with PCOS and mild male factor, for example, can achieve in just one month the pregnancy success rate of four months of trying naturally. If their condition warranted In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a single cycle of IVF would be the equivalent of two years trying naturally.
A couple with severe tubal disease or pronounced male factor infertility might have almost no chance of conceiving naturally, but a single IVF cycle could result in a 50 percent pregnancy rate.
At Generations Fertility Care, though success is our number one goal, we respect how the financial aspects of treatment are important for many couples. It is routine for patients to meet with our financial counselor so that they can figure out what works best for them, as well as to make the most of insurance coverage if it is available. We are committed to providing not only competitive pricing, but also excellent value when caring for patients.