Birmingham Moms Collective recently sat down with Dr. Sukhkamal Campbell, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at UAB’s Women’s & Infant Center, to discuss an all-too common issue for women: infertility.
Dr. Campbell came to UAB from Huntsville, Alabama, as a freshman in college and stayed for medical school and residency. After completing her fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Campbell–along with her husband and their two young sons–moved back to Birmingham this past September to work at UAB’s Women’s & Infant Center.
What Exactly Is Infertility?
Infertility is generally defined as trying to conceive for twelve months or more while having regular menstrual cycles, unprotected intercourse, and being under the age of 35. For women 35 and older, the number of months goes down from twelve to six.
While this is the textbook definition of infertility, Dr. Campbell encourages her patients to talk with her before reaching those specific milestones if they are feeling particularly stressed, if they want more options, and if they don’t want to continue to wait before reaching the one year mark. Keeping open dialogue and discussing options with her patients is very important to Dr. Campbell.
Common Causes of Infertility
Dr. Campbell says the most common cause of infertility she sees is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS causes a reduction in ovulation, which makes pregnancy planning difficult.
Another common cause of infertility is simply what she calls “unexplained infertility.” That is when every avenue is tested for issues including the fallopian tubes, the lining of the uterus, and the partner’s sperm count, but everything checks out fine.
When everything checks out as normal, there are other options to aid in conceiving. Generally the first step in treatment includes medication to help with ovulation such as Clomid and Letrozole.
Dr. Campbell listens to her patients and is always open to discussing the next steps in the infertility process (like in vitro fertilization) when her patients are ready.
You Are Not Alone
Dr. Campbell recognizes that infertility can be a very lonely process. For that reason, she is always happy to refer her patients to counseling and encourages stress-reduction options such as exercise and support groups.
While she says that stress doesn’t contribute to infertility, it certainly makes the journey more difficult. Finding your tribe and hearing from women with similar stories certainly eases the burden. Birmingham Moms Collective has an entire reading library resource from local women in a similar place discussing everything from infertility to pregnancy loss to pregnancy and adoption after infertility.
Click here to watch the entire interview with Dr. Campbell. She is currently accepting new patients, so call her office at (205) 996-3130 when you’re ready to start this journey!