Ask the Doctor

Dr. Austin is our resident doctor at The Fertility Center of Oregon. He earned his medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and fertility at Harvard University in 1997.

We invite you to ask Dr. Austin your fertility questions and we will publish one question along with the answer each week.

    What other resources do you know of for fertility?

    We have a whole page on our website dedicated to resources for you. These include counseling and support, different types of therapy, genetic evaluations, and more! Find it here.

    If no cause for infertility is found during my evaluation, do I have any hope of having a baby?

    When no cause of infertility can be established, the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” is given. In general, most couples with persitence will eventually be successful. For example, the use of CLOMIPHENE CITRATE and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) results in pregnancy rates of about 8% per cycle, injectable fertility medication (GONADOTROPINS) and IUI have rates of about 16-18% per cycle, and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) about 40% per cycle for couples with unexplained infertility.

    What happens at an initial infertility consultation?

    The goal of the initial consultation is to begin a supportive, working relationship, to review past infertility history, to review treatment options, and to establish short-term and long-term treatment plans.

    What are the causes of blighted ovum?

    A blighted ovum happens when a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, but never develops into an embryo. This occurs because of spontaneous genetic abnormalities, not because of something that is hereditary. It is the leading cause of miscarriage and often happens so early that you don’t even know you are pregnant.

    When should I see a reproductive endocrinologist for diagnosis and treatment of infertility?

    Many gynecologists are expert at the diagnosis and initial treatment of infertility. In general, a consultation is recommended for a woman over the age of 35, when a member of the couple has a significant underlying medical condition, or when a diagnosis has not been determined. Later referral is indicated for a couple undergoing treatment for six months without conception.

    What Causes Infertility?

    The causes of infertility can be grouped into general categories of: ovulatory abnormalities (polycystic ovary syndrom, hormonal imbalances, perimenopause…), anatomical factors (blocked fallopian tubes, pelvic adhesions, uterine or cervical abnormalities) or male factor. Approximately 10% of couples have “unexplained infertility”. This term is used for couples who have normal evaluations but are infertile. Most causes of infertility can be overcome.

    Where can I find other support groups?

    If it is not convenient for you to attend our support group through the Fertility Center, you can check out RESOLVE, an online resource for finding other support groups and helpful information. To our knowledge, there are no other physical infertility support groups available in the Lane County area.

    You can also go to the ASRM website and click on ‘For Patients’. There is a Resources tab that you can click on for more Infertility information.

    The Fertility Center’s support group meets monthly in lobby. If you would like more info, please contact Sarah J. Peterson at 541.579.4652 or email her at

    How do I know if I am infertile?

    After one year of well-timed intercourse, approximately 85% of couples will have conceived. The majority (72%) conceive within 6 months. By definition, the 15% of couples who are not pregnant at the end of the year are termed infertile. This definition is generally altered to six months of attempting pregnancy in women over age the age of 35.