March 3, 2022

Fertility Health Care Guides Offer Guidance for Patients and Providers Alike

By Monica Lefton, SWHR Communications Manager.    

With nearly 1 in 8 couples having trouble getting pregnant or sustaining their pregnancy, infertility in the United States is not uncommon; conversations about fertility should not be uncommon either. 

Conversations about fertility are usually initiated only when an individual reaches the age where fertility begins to naturally decline or after a couple has been trying to conceive for an extended period of time without success. While it is often recommended that couples evaluate potential infertility and discuss treatment options after experiencing 12 months of regular, unprotected sex without conceiving, discussing fertility earlier can help patients avoid or better handle many of the emotional, physical, and financial stressors associated with infertility care.  

To ensure health care providers across specialties are aware of fertility basics and equipped to provide support to their potential and existing patients, the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) developed a Clinician Resource Guide to Fertility Health Care.  

This clinician resource was created to assist health care providers as they help patients navigate fertility options—from family planning to evaluating and treating infertility—using a shared decision-making approach. Sections of the Clinician Resource Guide include:  

Among its insights, the Clinician Resource Guide reminds providers that multiple factors influence a patient’s decisions around fertility care and educating patients about all options, rather than making assumptions about their preferences, will help offer care that best aligns with the patient’s values, needs, and goals. 

SWHR has also created a Women’s Resource Guide to Fertility Health Care to empower patients to prepare for and initiate fertility conversations with their partners and care providers. 

This patient resource aims to help women and families navigate fertility options—from clarifying goals and values for a reproductive life plan to undergoing fertility evaluation and treatment. Sections of the Women’s Resource Guide include:  

While the Women’s Resource Guide walks through infertility evaluation methods and treatment options, it encourages women and their families to keep in mind that conceiving, even with treatment, takes time. Some treatments may need multiple attempts before determining if it will be successful, so ongoing conversations with health care providers throughout the process is crucial. 




These guides are part of SWHR’s Fertility Program, which was established in 2021 to engage patients and patient advocates, clinicians and fertility specialists, researchers, and health care decision-makers on the burden of female infertility and to explore and promote science-based health care policies and education to improve patient outcomes.  

SWHR will host a public forum,  The Fertility Journey: Understanding Options and Navigating Care on March 18, 2022, to discuss the guides and outcomes from a Fertility Roundtable held in fall 2021. 

SWHR’s Fertility Program is supported by an educational sponsorship from Guerbet. SWHR maintains editorial control and independence over educational content.