Your First Fertility Doctor Appointment: What to Expectby Katlyn Joy | July 13, 2011
After initial tries, disappointment and perhaps loss, you arrive at the decision that perhaps the stock needs an assist. You do some research, make some calls and find a fertility specialist to consult with. Exactly what should you expect at this first appointment and is there anything you should do to prepare?
Make sure your fertility specialist has all the pertinent facts about your medical history. You can have all your doctors send medical records to the fertility clinic, but you'll know it's all there if you have a copy in hand of all information to personally hand to the reproductive specialist.
Bring a detailed list of questions. (see list of possible questions below) This will make up a large percentage of your time at this first visit, so be prepared.
Bring your partner. Going it alone will increase your anxiety and stress and create a possibility for misunderstandings about what the next steps will be. Additionally your partner is not a spectator in the fertility process, either. You should do the whole process together, because ultimately you are a team.
Talk to your insurance provider as well as the fertility clinic regarding costs and coverage. Knowing up front what you need to have and to do can alleviate potential headaches later.
Bring a notebook to write down any instructions, details about what is to happen or things you are supposed to do or look into. Don't rely on your or your partner's memory. Details are liable to slip through the cracks that way.
Bring all relevant information such as temperature charts, fertility charting, and lists of current medications being taken.
Expect to answer a lot of very personal questions. Even your mother would blush to know the things you'll be discussing at this first visit.
You'll need to discuss:
- How long you have been trying to get pregnant
- Frequency of sex
- Menstrual periods - how regular, last one, how long they last and any symptoms
- Lifestyle and health questions about smoking, drinking, diet and exercise
- Weight history
- Work history as in type of work and materials exposed to
- Genetic history in your family and your ethnic background
- Birth control use over your lifetime
- Sexual history
- Previous pregnancies, including those ending in miscarriage or abortion
- History of sexually transmitted infections
- Reproductive symptoms like unusual bleeding, cramping or pain
- Mother's age at menopause
For the man questions will include:
- Genital surgeries, history of illnesses or injuries
- Urinary or prostate problems
- History of sexually transmitted infections
- Any children he has fathered
- Problems with ejaculation or erections
- Lifestyle issues such as alcohol, cigarettes, diet and exercise
- Overall health and family history of genetic illnesses or conditions
If a previous visit was dedicated to questions and information, then this visit will likely include the physical examinations such as a thyroid exam, a pelvic including a PAP test, and a breast exam. The man will likely give a sperm sample for lab analysis as well as a medical exam.
Following this part of the consultation, a discussion will be made about further testing and treatment options. If the couple hasn't done so already, time will be spent discussing financial responsibilities and options with the financial department of the clinic.
Questions to Ask During Your First Visit
- What are the office hours and what number should I call with problems or questions?
- What is the process at this point?
- Am I going to need further testing? If so, what?
- What is the time frame for a diagnosis?
- What treatment options are we looking at?
- How long should we expect the entire process to take?
- What is your success rate with the treatments we expect to undertake?
- What role does your nursing staff play in patient treatment and contact?
- What are the credentials of the lab that you work with?
- How many patients do you see who are in my age group? Have my fertility problem?
- How is communication handled at the practice?
- Do you support or offer information on complementary or alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, meditation or relaxation?
With a little research and testing on your fertility specialists part, he will figure out what the fertility problem may be, and offer you and your partner a treatment plan that will help you achieve conception. It may take some time, but with a little patience, persistence, and medical intervention, you and your partner could be expecting the little boy or girl you always wanted!
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