This article is from the Infertility FAQ, by Rebecca Smith Waddell firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The first thing you need to do is decide how you want to start. For
couples who haven't been trying for 6-12 months, it may be worth
working on timing intercourse and gathering information for a few
months before seeking medical help -- for example, taking basal body
temperature and using ovulation predictor kits. If you suspect
ovulation problems -- having long cycles, discomfort, any recent
change in cycling, etc. -- or suspect a problem with sperm production,
seeking medical help as early as possible makes sense.
There are three specialists infertile couples are referred to: a
gynecologist (OBGYN), a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), and a
urologist for male factor. An OBGYN will be able to help women with
simple fertility problems, but even one that claims a specialty in
infertility probably has fewer credentials than an RE. The advantage
to seeing an RE is that getting people pregnant is all they really do,
and they tend to be more aggressive in looking for the problem as well
as in treating infertility. Most likely one would get more thorough
monitoring with an RE as well.
It's a good idea to have both the man and woman checked at the same
time. Having a semen analysis before the woman goes through any
invasive tests makes a lot of sense in order to prevent any
unnecessary discomfort. A general practitioner, OBGYN, RE or urologist
can order this test.
Often couples need to see their primary care physician in order to get
a referral. You may wish to do a bit of homework to find out about
good doctors in your area -- a good place to check in the U.S. is
RESOLVE, http://www.resolve.org -- and also find out what your
insurance will cover costs if you don't have ample funds to cover
Once you have a referral, make sure all relevant medical records are
forwarded to the doctor and also send any of the information you've
been gathering ahead of time. Make a list of questions you want to ask
at your first appointment and bring paper and a pen so you can take
some notes. Ask questions about anything you don't understand and try
to participate in your treatment and in the development of a plan.