etting Pregnant and Fertility: Second Medical Opinion (SMO)

For couples experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, finding out exactly what the problem is and how to resolve it can be of critical importance - particularly when age is a factor. That is why it is so important that your fertility specialist be able to determine the cause of your fertility problems.

Unfortunately, however, the causes of infertility are not always known. In fact, in many cases, fertility testing is unable to identify the exact problem, or the infertility treatments selected are unsuccessful. Over time, these experiences can lead to feelings of disappointment, helplessness, and even anger.

In an effort to ensure your fertility treatment is the most effective possible, it is sometimes necessary to seek a second opinion - also known as a second medical opinion (SMO). Just as with other medical conditions, infertility can often be difficult to accurately diagnose and treat, making an SMO a smart choice for some couples.

When to Seek a Second Opinion

Obviously, if the patient does not feel comfortable with the advice they have been receiving from their fertility specialist, an SMO should be sought. However, there are instances in which it is a good idea to seek a second opinion even when the doctor is deemed trustworthy.

It is a good idea to seek an SMO if:

  • You suspect a diagnostic error
  • You have not become pregnant after several infertility treatments.
  • You have been told you have no hope of conceiving.
  • You have been diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility'.

It is important to keep in mind that each fertility doctor has his or her own area of specialization. By seeking out another fertility specialist, you may receive a more complete picture of your prospects of getting pregnant.

Who to ask for an SMO

Because you want to make sure your SMO is more accurate than the first, your second fertility specialist should have as much, or greater expertise - and ideally in a different area. In order to find a suitable SMO, you should enlist the help of your primary healthcare provider, or else other referral sources. A good doctor will most likely encourage you to seek a SMO.

To ensure your SMO is as accurate as possible, it is important that you fully understand the recommendations being made by your original fertility specialist. It is also a good idea to ask what type of documentation will be required when you schedule a second opinion appointment.

The costs of an SMO may or may not be covered by your insurance provider. This matter should be directed to your provider prior to scheduling an appointment.

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