The first time you meet with a fertility specialist will undoubtedly feel foreign and maybe even a little uncomfortable for you. After all, you probably haven’t had much time to get used to the fact that infertility treatment is something you may require. Take comfort in the fact that you are simply weighing your options right now, and a specialist’s main concern is giving you the care that you need. Pay attention to the way you feel when you meet with them.
A fertility specialist should only provide you with confidence and guidance. There are a lot of things to consider when you first start on the path of fertility treatment. Not only do you have to find a fertility specialist that you feel comfortable with, you also have to learn about all of the steps you will need to take and what that will mean for you and your partner going forward. These decisions are huge and they are bound to make you feel somewhat intimidated and overwhelmed.
The specialist you choose is there to help you handle those emotions by offering you reassurance and solutions for your concerns. Bring your partner, friend or family member to the first consultation with your specialist. One of you should take notes during the meeting because there will be a lot of information discussed and you will want to be sure that you are remembering everything accurately. It is also extremely helpful to bring a list of all of the questions you have concerning fertility treatment options and how they pertain to you.
Try to come up with as many as you can think of before you go. Taking all of these steps will help to keep your from getting overwhelmed. If you think of some questions after the appointment is over do not worry, write them down and bring them with you the next time you visit.
Here are 8 questions to help get you started on your list that people usually want to ask in the beginning. Do not keep yourself limited to these if you have more. There are no wrong questions.
1. Why haven’t I been able to get pregnant?
This is the first basic question that you are undoubtedly wondering and it will help you to hear how your specialist plans to address it. They may be able to give you some insight based on your existing medical history and the tests you have already had. They will also explain to you what tests will be helpful if the answer is not evident just yet.
2. What tests do you think I should get done?
As already mentioned, this will depend on the information already known about your current condition. Both you and your partner will require some testing. Your doctor may want to test the male partner’s hormone levels, look for infections or other existing conditions. You may be asked to undergo additional tests if your diagnosis is still unclear. Clinics will usually have financial counselors if you are concerned about how much all of this is going to add up to. They will help you determine which tests are covered by your insurance and which ones are not.
3. What treatment do you recommend first?
Gather all of the information you can about the treatment your doctor believes is best for you and why. Ask how long the treatment would take, what kind of adjustments you would have to make in your daily life, how often you would need to come into the clinic, how much it would cost, etc.
4. What could this mean for the future?
You and your doctor should discuss all of the side effects that could occur depending on the treatment that they suggest. If there are any risks involved, could you end up being pregnant with multiples, etc.
5. What are concerns patients usually express about this treatment?
You may have your own concerns, it helps to hear that others have had those as well and what reassurance your doctor has to offer.
6. What is your success rate with this treatment?
Ask your fertility specialist how many times the clinic has performed these procedures and how successful they have been in the past. They are required to provide you with this information. If needed, you may find more detailed information from the Centers for Disease Control.
Understanding the different success rates per treatment, how long they take and how much they cost may affect how you choose to move forward. Talk to your doctor about the likelihood of success with this treatment at your age in order to evaluate which decision makes the most sense for you at this time.
7. What are common misconceptions about infertility?
You may be worried about your health and aren’t sure how to put it into words or how to ask the right questions. Your specialist will have had many meetings like this before and heard all sorts of worries that people have expressed. They can share those with you and help to clear up the facts.
8. What is the best way for me to prepare for what is to come?
Your doctor can provide you with advice on what support you will be needing during this time and how to find it if you don’t have it already. There are situations that can arise that cause stress and it is important that you are prepared for those and have a means of support to help you through. The most important thing is to keep all communication open and continue to go to your doctor with any questions and concerns that you have. That will save you a great deal of stress while you go through this process.
Keep all of your notes together after each visit and make a list of the pros and cons you felt in order to maintain awareness of your feelings about everything. You will be spending a lot of time with this clinic, so make sure that you feel comfortable being yourself there. If you do not, there are always other options. Remember that you and your family come first, so do whatever you have to do in order to take care of yourself and your loved ones.